Online retail giant Amazon may be testing out fancy drones to deliver packages in the U.S., but in India it is going decidedly low-tech to give it an edge over rivals Flipkart and Snapdeal.

According to people with direct knowledge of the matter, Amazon has rolled out a pilot project— for physical pick-up of packages— in partnership with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL).

The physical pick-up service allows its users to order an item online, and pick it up from a physical store that Amazon has tied up with.

This kind of service is primarily used by customers who may not be at home to collect the package or need a certain package urgently enough to go pick it up themselves.

In Mumbai and Delhi, the company has tied up with state-owned oil marketing firm Bharat Petroleum. BPCL operates a retail chain known as In&Out at some of its filling stations across the country. It is through some of these In&Out stores that customers are allowed to pick up their packages.

Better solutions

When contacted, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed the development. “We are continually innovating to find solutions that enhance the convenience and experience for our customers on Amazon.in,” the spokesperson said.

“Towards that, we are running a pilot in Delhi and Mumbai with BPCL to ascertain the benefits and mechanics of enabling a pick-up service.  It is too early to comment any further.  Depending on results, we will take a call on how and what we want to roll out and we will make a further announcement on this at an appropriate time,” the spokesperson added. 

BPCL sources also confirmed the development. For the oil firm , this partnership gives an opportunity to utilise its retail outlets as a pick-up point. “Over night, this gives Amazon a decent physical distribution network to work with. This kind of savvy marketing and strategy, also seen with their partnership with India Post for cash-on-delivery services, is what keeps them on top,” said an industry executive, who did not wish to be named.

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