Staples embraces Amazon with pick-up lockers

Amidst the battle between online retail and brick-and-mortar stores, Amazon and Staples have formed an unlikely alliance. For months now Amazon has been installing Amazon Lockers in U.S. stores such as 7-Elevens, copy centers, and Rite Aid retail stores. Now according to Amazon's Locker location tool it's expanding to the retail office giant Staples.

Amazon Lockers allow customers to order products online and retrieve them anytime within three days of delivery, using a unique pick-up code. Delivery items must be smaller than 11.8 x 11.8 x 11.8 inches and weigh less than 10lbs. It's ideal for people who would rather pick up the packages at their leisure than risk a missed delivery at home or work.

It's unclear how many Staples retail stores will have them. When I searched New York City I found a dozen Amazon Locker located at various Staples in Manhattan. Amazon Lockers are not yet available in all parts of the United States. Amazon has an online search tool to check if there's a locker in your area.

Amazon Animosity

Not all physical retailers have been as friendly to Amazon as Staples, and many of them regard the online retailer as a threat. In May, Target said it would remove all Kindle products from its stores. Walmart followed suit in September.

Last year, the Retail Industry Leaders Association accused Amazon of “ showrooming,” by encouraging shoppers to look for products in stores and then order them online. Amazon even offered a discount for shoppers who scanned items in stores using the Amazon mobile app.

Even Best Buy, which sells Amazon's Kindle Fire and has denied that showrooming is a major problem for the company, is fighting back. This holiday season, the electronics store will match online prices and provide free home delivery for any items that are out of stock in its stores.

Staples, meanwhile, seems to be adopting an “if you can't beat 'em, join 'em” strategy. As Reuters notes, retailers get a small fee in exchange for housing Amazon's lockers. And just maybe, people who head to the store to retrieve a package may end up buying something while they're at it.

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