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Amazon extends collection points to 4,500 convenience stores

Amazon expands its Collect+ network of convenience store pick-up points to deal with your out-of-home delivery woes.

Ever found yourself imprisoned at home, unable to go to the loo for fear of missing the UPS Santa in his big brown sleigh, laden with all your online purchases? You can ease up on your bladder-control exercises, as Amazon has extended its parcel pick-up points to nearly 4,500 convenience stores nationwide. 

The Seattle-based business has linked up with the Collect+ service in the UK, which lets you select the most convenient collection location at the checkout, at no extra cost. Equally, Amazon Marketplace sellers can choose it as a delivery mode.

With the system still being tested, Collect+ currently only applies to small-scale items such as books and clothes.  

The Collect+ system can also be used to return your unwanted or ill-fitting garments, again from your local collection point -- free of cost -- should you find you've put on a few pounds since you placed the order. To do this, you'll have to print your returns label from Amazon's Returns Support Centre and attach it to your parcel, making sure it weighs less than 10kg.  

The website makes finding your local collection point as easy as pie, using a Google Maps-powered postcode finder

In addition, the website features a tracking service to put your worried mind at rest, which runs you through the three-to-five-day journey your precious parcel will be embarking upon.  

For all those Londoners eager to avoid collection carnage during the Paralympic Games, Collect+ has constructed a pretty little choropleth map of the busiest postcodes, just so, in the words of Boris, you don't get caught out.    

The service is likely to be popular with employees who have been banned from getting their packages delivered to their place of work. So instead of bothering the receptionist, you can now leave the office, stroll down the street and say hello to your local shopkeeper instead. 

Amazon.co.uk has also had a little spring clean to keep it up to date. Much of the colour that featured in the previous design has been binned for a cleaner, more feature-centric layout that frees up room for recommendations based on your personal browsing history. 

Despite traditional retailers having been at the mercy of online giants like Amazon for some time, many chains such as Spar, Costcutter and potentially the Co-operative will be embracing the idea in the hope it will increase the number of people coming into their shops.   

At the same time, this is a step towards Amazon furthering its physical presence on the nation's high streets, as a similar system using 'Amazon Lockers' is already in operation, predominantly across the pond with our American cousins, but also on a smaller scale here in the UK.  

Has Amazon answered your calls for a convenient way to pick up your prezzies, or will you vote with your feet and stick to the high street? Drop off your packages full of thoughts in the comments box or leave us a post on our Facebook page.