Amazon locks and loads so you can pick up and go


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The Independent Online is coming to a convenience store near you. The online retail giant has been rolling out its self-service delivery lockers across Britain's supermarkets, train stations and newsagents since last September.

The service gives customers the option to collect the items they've ordered without the hassle of postmen leaving their Twilight boxset out in the rain or putting a "sorry, you were out" note (cue gnashing of teeth from folk across the country who insist they were in) through the letterbox. It's almost like actual human shopping, but without having to speak to anyone. You simply order online, select your local locker, then collect in person using a unique pick-up code.

Amazon is clearly hoping the scheme will cut down its delivery costs, which are considerably more expensive when a delivery fails. Shops that are agreeing to house the lockers hope the increased footfall will boost their own profits. The only limitation for the customer is that currently they can only use the service for smaller items and with a maximum weight of 10lb, so no new dishwashers, doll's houses or double beds just yet, unfortunately.

With chains such as Co-op playing host, and more than 200 locker locations across the country (with more, no doubt, to come), it won't be long before the monolithic metal boxes are a fixture in every town and village across the land. Amazon won't reveal how many more lockers it plans to install in the UK, but if the US is anything to go by, it's likely to be, well, a fairly Amazonian amount.