Amazon: Flexible beyond its footprint
THE FACT THAT, as yet, Amazon sells only online means there are natural limits on how quickly it can get an order to the customer. Shoppers cannot walk into its shops and pick up an item ordered online within a few minutes.
But these are limits that Amazon has worked hard to overcome. To give but two examples, it has set up its own Amazon Logistics home delivery capability, harnessing the power of local delivery firms to get items to the customer from local hubs as quickly as possible. And customers can use its own-branded lockers across the UK, in locations from branches of Tesco to London Underground and Birmingham International Airport, to pick up their online orders. Christopher North, managing director of Amazon.co.uk, said when Amazon unveiled its Birmingham lockers: “Amazon Lockers at travel terminals are amongst the most popular so it made perfect sense to us that the next step would be to install them at a leading UK airport.” He described the lockers as “the delivery option of choice for many customers who want to pick up their shopping at a time and place that suits them best”.
Amazon index value in the IRUK 500 Operations and Logistics Dimension
In all, Amazon offers eight delivery choices and four types of pick-up point. Collection options include same-day delivery through the newspaper delivery network to shops in the Pass My Parcel network, and pick-up from Royal Mail , CollectPlus and Doddle outlets, as well as Amazon Lockers. Delivery choices include super saver, first-class, one-day, two-day, express, evening, expedited and scheduled delivery. Not all are available across the country: evening delivery, costing £14.99, is available for some products in 11 cities, including London, while expedited delivery excludes areas, including parts of the north-east and Scotland.
It’s only through very impressive capabilities that the online giant can offer a wide enough choice to overcome its lack of stores, and earn a place in the Elite group in the IRUK Operations and Logistics Performance Dimension.
It’s interesting to note that Amazon, which for many years competed on free delivery, now seems to be removing its more uneconomic delivery offers, since super-saver delivery is now only free with a minimum £10 spend on books or £20 on other items, a move that discourages the low-value orders that at one point enjoyed free delivery. Perhaps the online giant, which in the US has introduced one-hour delivery in some cities, has concluded that when customers pay for convenience, the service is ultimately more profitable.