Bricks vs. Clicks: ShopRunner Takes Aim at Amazon’s Lockers With PickupZone Acquisition

ShopRunner is announcing the acquisition of PickupZone today, which will help the company’s brick-and-mortar partners go head to head against the Amazons of the world.

Flickr: fensterbme

Prior to the acquisition, ShopRunner’s main emphasis was on providing an alternative to Amazon Prime, by offering a loyalty program that offers free two-day shipping across several big-name retailers.

Now, with the acquisition of Boston-based PickupZone, it is rolling out a way for retailers to combat one of Amazon’s newest programs, called Lockers.

One inherent strength of physical retailers is that they have stores where users can shop as well as pick up items they’ve purchased online. Likewise, one of Amazon’s weaknesses is that it is entirely online.

But that could be changing.

The e-commerce giant has started testing out a service called Amazon Lockers, which allows consumers to pick up packages from secure mailboxes at 7-Eleven. So far, the service is being tested on a limited basis in Amazon’s hometown of Seattle.

Earlier this month, we reported that Amazon is working hard to expand Prime beyond, and that there are a number of options for additions, including the ability to pick up items in person.

The early tests by Amazon to provide Lockers — and the possibility of combining the service with Prime — is clearly motivating retailers to leverage their physical stores.

As part of the acquisition, ShopRunner said it will launch PickupPoints, a network of locations at retail stores where ShopRunner members can go to pick up their packages. Between PickupZone’s locations in Boston and Chicago, and store footprints from ShopRunner partners, including Toys “R” Us, American Eagle, PetSmart and Sports Authority, it can easily beat Amazon to the punch by offering more than 30,000 potential pickup spots, the company said.

ShopRunner declined to comment on how much it paid for PickupZone, a privately funded three-year-old company. PickupZone is modeled after Kiala in Europe, which has 7,000 pickup points in five countries, and was recently bought by UPS.

ShopRunner said PickupZone’s co-founder Hooman Hodjat will join the company.

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