The company said in a statement on Monday that Amazon shoppers nationwide will be able to ship their packages to brick-and-mortar retail locations like the company's physical bookstores, Amazon Books, or an Amazon 4-star locations. The company has also established a network of contactless pick-up locations, called Amazon Hub, which are either self-service kiosks or attended pick-up counters that are located in neighborhoods, cities and college campuses.
The e-commerce giant is also offering online shoppers an "Amazon Day" delivery option, which allows them to pick a certain day of the week to receive all of their orders at once.
Amazon is marketing these new delivery and package pick-up methods as a way shoppers can keep their holiday purchases "spoiler free" from others in their household that may be receiving the gifts.
"This year many customers and their families are opting to stay home so the challenge of keeping those special gifts under wraps from family, friends or loved ones is going to be greater than ever," said John Felton, vice president of Amazon Global Delivery Services, in a statement. "We're helping customers keep their orders a surprise this year and have a number of ways we're providing them more flexibility, control and convenience over their deliveries."
While these moves are designed to make the sometimes chaotic holiday shopping season easier for Amazon customers, they can also benefit the company in multiple ways. By encouraging customers to send their orders to central locations or have them all delivered on the same day, Amazon cuts down on the number of last-mile delivery trips needed.
Black Friday Season Ahead
Black Friday, which is the Friday following the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, is known for being the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season ahead of the Christmas holiday. The one-day event is known for its doorbuster deals and crowded shopping centers as consumers look to purchase gifts at low price points. The name for the event came from retailer's encouraging a buying surge to benefit their bottom line, pushing them from the "red" into the "black," or into profitability for the year.
In recent years, Black Friday deals have trended to extend beyond the one-day cut off, with retailers offering deals throughout the weekend and hosting fresh savings online through Cyber Monday sales. Unsurprisingly, like many trends that are powered by the internet, the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the long Black Friday deals trend by decades, with many retailers offering deals earlier and longer to curb crowded stores and high delivery volumes.
The acceleration of this trend was influenced heavily by Amazon, with the delivery giant starting this year's holiday season in October by offering delayed Prime Day deals. This forced competitors to develop new strategies that coincided with an extended in-person and online shopping season.