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Pick me up

Major online retailers are betting on offline pick-up stores to spread their reach

The doorbell rings. Once, then twice. The man outside the door stands in wait for someone to respond and then eventually calls the person he’s got a special delivery for. The person on the other end of the line just asks him to leave the package with the watchman.

With the proliferation of e-commerce options, the online ordering struggle is real and often comes with its own hassles. And that’s just one part of the story — there have been multiple cases of prank deliveries or prank orders being placed with companies online and the wait for an order on the expected delivery date remains a problem for customers as well.

Well, some companies have begun working on a solution. It all started with Amazon, which first introduced the concept of offline pick-up points in the country. As part of the Amazon ‘Pickup programme’, the company enabled over 1,100 kirana stores, 35 BPCL In & Out stores and individual entrepreneurs across more than 50 cities — including Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Vellore, Nashik, Vijayawada, Thoothukudi, Thanjavur, Tiruchirappalli, Manipal, Vadodara, Salem, Ludhiana and Rajkot.

 By way of this programme, customers — while placing an order — can choose to get the products delivered at the location nearest to them from the list of available pick-up locations. From the designated pick-up point, they can then pick their orders or return them as per their convenience at locations such as kirana stores, bakeries, flower shops and travel agencies. 

Says Samuel Thomas, director, transportation and logistics, Amazon India, “We have seen owner

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