Lawson Inc. customers will increasingly be able to order items from online giant Amazon Japan KK for later collection, under an enhanced tie-up announced Tuesday between the two retailers.
They said service begins Wednesday at 199 Lawson convenience stores in Shizuoka Prefecture and expanding nationwide through 2015.
Amazon aims to reach new customers: those who do not shop online; while Lawson hopes the lure of Amazon’s vast inventory will draw more people to its stores.
“This is a big step, to provide a more convenient shopping experience for customers,” Jasper Cheung, who heads Amazon in Japan, told a news conference in Tokyo.
“Convenience stores are becoming a kind of infrastructure that supports people’s daily lives, and they are important bases for Amazon’s customers, too,” he said.
He noted that Amazon has already partnered with some convenience store operators, including Lawson, to let customers make orders online and then collect the items at the store of their choice.
Cheung said the new service will enable people who do not use computers or smartphones to shop with Amazon.
Customers will use Lawson’s Loppi in-store purchase terminals, which currently offer touch-screen access to items such as concert and sports tickets, and CDs and DVDs.
Because using a Loppi terminal requires a certain amount of technological savvy, Lawson wants to make the process as simple as possible by providing cards bearing digital QR codes that link to certain product categories. Customers will scan the appropriate QR pattern to see a list of items.
There is one further step. Once customers have chosen their purchases, they will need to call a telephone operator to finalize the order, Lawson said.
Delivery will take two to five days, and the purchase will then be available for collection at the store.
Amazon said it won’t offer its entire range of around 100 million products, but at least tens of millions would be available.
Those that are off-limits include liquor, adult goods and items that a convenience store would find hard to handle, such as home appliances.