Australian department store Myer is teaming up with Amazon Australia to offer click-and-collect hubs inside 21 Myer locations, in a move the companies say is all about convenience for time-poor shoppers.
However, one retail expert says the benefits to the US retail giant are likely to far outweigh those for Myer.
Starting next Wednesday, September 9, Amazon customers will be able to pick up their parcels from the new ‘Amazon Hub’ counters inside selected Myer stores.
After launching locally in 2017, Amazon Australia launched its Amazon Hub parcel collection network in November 2019, allowing shoppers to collect parcels from lockers or counters located at Commonwealth Bank branches, Victorian Authorised Newsagents Association locations and Stockland shopping centres.
Through the partnership with Myer, Amazon Australia customers will now be given the option to select a Myer store at their delivery location. When their parcel is ready to be collected, they will be notified via email and then given a collection code to present at the Myer counter within seven days.
The service is available for free for Amazon Prime customers, or via Amazon’s free expedited delivery and standard delivery options.
The initial 21 launch sites include:
- Sydney City, Bondi Junction, Chatswood, Warringah, Macquarie, Parramatta, Castle Hill and Roselands in New South Wales;
- Melbourne City, Highpoint, Doncaster, Chadstone, Southland and Geelong in Victoria;
- Brisbane, Chermside, Carindale, Pacific Fair and Maroochydore in Queensland; and
- Myer stores in Adelaide and Perth.
However, in a statement, Myer said there are plans to add Amazon Hub counters to more Myer stores in the lead up to Christmas, including in regional areas.
“This partnership is about combining our services to create greater convenience for our customers,” said Myer chief customer officer Geoff Ikin in the statement.
“It’s solution-led thinking for time-poor customers, who can access Myer’s great range of services and brands that we believe Amazon customers will take advantage of when collecting their parcel.
“So for the customer, for Myer and for Amazon, it’s a win-win scenario.”
Ikin said the partnership “enhances” Myer existing click-and-collect service and may appeal to shoppers who are concerned about the need to visit multiple locations under current coronavirus restrictions.
In the same statement, Amazon Australia’s director of operations Craig Fuller said Amazon is excited to work with “one of Australia’s most well-known and trusted retailers”.
“Not only does it provide our customers with more control, but it enables them to enjoy a quick and simple pickup experience at Myer’s network of conveniently located stores,” he said.
Convenient or not?
Despite the companies’ claims of mutual benefits, Dr Lousie Grimmer, a senior lecturer in marketing and retail at the University of Tasmania, says she’s not convinced the partnership will deliver for Myer.
“There are limited numbers of stores around the country for pick-up, and so for many shoppers, picking up an Amazon delivery from a Myer store is not actually going to be particularly convenient,” she tells SmartCompany.
“From a customer perspective, having Amazon parcels delivered to homes is much more convenient for the majority of consumers, particularly as many people continue to work from home.”
“In addition, Myer is really left doing all the heavy lifting in this deal — they need to provide staff to service the pick-up hubs and deal with customers.”
Grimmer compares the partnership to the one inked between eBay and Woolworths, which she says made more sense as “consumers are much more likely to also nip into the supermarket to make an unscheduled purchase at the time they collect their eBay order”.
“I just don’t see that there will be a huge appetite for shoppers to pick up their Amazon order and then nip into the department store to do some shopping,” she says.
Instead, Grimmer believes a partnership between Amazon and a retailer with a large store network, such as Coles or Bunnings, would be more logical.
“Coles offers many more physical stores for pickup and customers are much more likely to undertake that impulse shopping while they are there picking up their online order,” she says.
Grimmer says retailers are right to be focusing on convenience, amid the changes to consumer shopping behaviour that are driving a “huge shift to online shopping in a relatively short time frame”.
“Consumers are now much more used to shopping online and they expect fast rates of delivery and convenience,” she says.
“Retailers excelling in online shopping, fulfilment and delivery are those that are really engaged in making the online shopping process as convenient as possible for consumers, and that means guaranteeing really fast rates of delivery with an exceptional level of service, right through from the online experience to the actual delivery.”
However, the delivery process is a difficult one to perfect, says Grimmer, who predicts we’ll see “successful retailers really stepping up in this area” in the future.
“We’ll see more pick-up hubs in convenient locations, parcel lockers and pick-ups and returns in physical stores,” she says.