Once installed, customers will be able to ship their products to Staples stores instead of having them shipped to their home or apartment. While the latter may seem more convenient, the locker concept was designed for those who may not be home to receive the delivery.
This might sound like a risky move for Staples, since it could theoretically drive down prices and encourage consumers to use Amazon more often. But the lockers may be a sneaky effort by Staples to win market share, since it could acquire an Amazon customer or two in the process. At the very least, Staples will receive a fee for allowing Amazon to place lockers in its stores.
It is unclear what Amazon hopes to gain from the deal. The company's lockers are typically placed in stores that are open 24 hours a day, such as 7-Eleven. This made sense because it allowed customers to pick up packages at any time. It also made sense from a competitive standpoint. As a convenience store, 7-Eleven does not compete with Amazon. They may sell some of the same items, but the customer base is vastly different. And it's not as if Amazon can ship a Slurpee or Big Gulp through the mail.
By coming to Staples, Amazon is attempting to expand its retail presence without actually opening a brick-and-mortar location. Some speculate that the company could accomplish this task (and make a ton of money) by acquiring Best Buy (BBY +0.91%), but Amazon does not seem to be interested in acquiring another retailer. If it did, it could open the door for another competitor to rise up and offer lower prices by avoiding the extra costs that come with managing a physical retail outlet.
Amazon and Staples have yet to provide any commentary on the deal.