Technology

Amazon Lockers popping up in Sacramento

A recently installed Amazon Locker at Safeway supermarket at 1814 19th St., in midtown Sacramento.
A recently installed Amazon Locker at Safeway supermarket at 1814 19th St., in midtown Sacramento. mglover@sacbee.com

Clad in bright yellow orange with names such as Bram, Dottie, Amanda and Delaney, Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc.’s latest expansion in the Sacramento area has been showing up in Safeway supermarkets and other retail sites.

They’re Amazon Lockers, self-service customer pick-up sites that let online shoppers retrieve Amazon orders at their convenience in a secure setting.

Locally, most of the lockers are in Safeway markets, but 7-Eleven and Circle K also have them.

The recently installed Amazon Locker in the Safeway at 1814 19th St. in midtown Sacramento is named Claude.

Amazon.com shoppers select the locker they’d like for delivery when checking out. When the package arrives, the customer receives an email and text message with a code to retrieve their order.

The colorful lockers are sort of a cross between Post Office boxes and fitness center lockers.

I think that’s the best solution to all those Christmas packages that get stolen every year.

Richard Price, co-owner of arts and crafts business, about Amazon lockers

Each Amazon Locker displays a human name. “It’s an easy way to identify Amazon Lockers for our customers,” Amazon spokesman Jim Billimoria said.

The recently installed Amazon Locker in the Safeway at 1814 19th St. in midtown Sacramento is named Claude.

This week, Claude was drawing stares from grocery shoppers who were unfamiliar with the new arrival or its purpose.

“I thought it was a kiosk to order things on Amazon,” said 44-year-old Sacramentan Holly Wilson.

“Are there surprises behind the doors?” asked Sacramento shopper Anne Carson, 51.

Richard Price said his family’s West Sacramento in-home arts and crafts business uses lockers throughout the area, including ones in Davis.

“We order a lot of supplies, so it makes it easier to pick things up when we’re ready,” he said. “Sometimes we’re so busy that we have push things back a day … but with the (lockers), we have more leeway to pick up orders when we’re ready.”

Amazon, which asks locker users to pick up orders within three business days of delivery notification, also touts the security its lockers provide – no packages sit unattended on front porches for hours or days, a temptation for roaming thieves. Packages also can be returned to select lockers.

“I think that’s the best solution to all those Christmas packages that get stolen every year,” Price said.

The company did not disclose hard numbers of Amazon Lockers in California, though Billimoria said “there are hundreds” – including more than 20 in the Sacramento area.

Amazon, which launched the lockers in 2011, has since installed them nationwide.

The lockers are separate from staffed pickup locations like the one that recently opened in Memorial Union at UC Davis. There, customers receive assistance from an Amazon employee.

One potential drawback: The number of deliveries could surpass the capacity of the lockers at a given site, a situation that Amazon said it will monitor closely during the holiday shopping season.

Mark Glover: 916-321-1184, @markhglover

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