Amazon Quietly Ends Instant Pick-Up Program

Amazon's Pick-Up Program was intended to be the company's version of a vending machine.

A person browsing the Amazon website
Quinn Rooney / Getty Images

Amazon's Pick-Up Program was intended to be the company's version of a vending machine.

In August of 2017 Amazon started their Instant Pick-Up program in several locations across the country. Just over one-year later, the online retail giant made the decision to shut down the program, and did so quietly without much to-do, Business Insider reports.

The Instant Pick-Up program was Amazon’s first attempt at serving up some instant gratification. The program allowed people to place orders for things like food, drinks and other basic style items and have them available for pickup in moments. The program started with five physical locations across the country and originally there were plans to grow and expand this service.

The original concept was to give people access to impulse items in a way like a vending machine. The company banked on impulse buyers who “wanted it now” when they bought things.

The cancellation of Instant Pick-Up is a surprising move from Amazon who in recent years has been hard at work to incorporate several physical location additions to their retail network including Amazon books stores and some small pop-up style shopping locations. What’s even more surprising is that Amazon shut the program down without so much as an acknowledgement of its failure or demise.

Speaking to Business Insider, a spokesperson of Amazon did confirm the pick-up program was coming to an end. The spokesperson, however, did not confirm an ending date.

Fortunately for Amazon, the Instant Pick-Up locations will not go to waste. The company is converting its attention to their standard Amazon Pick-Up program which provides the website’s customers with a physical location where they can pick up orders and bring items in to be returned. This location is often referred to as an Amazon hub. This allows for greater ease and peace of mind with the return process and lowers people’s anxiety about having to ship things back in.

The regular Pick-Up stations do have same day pickup on certain items for some prime members depending on the area you live in and their proximity to a fulfillment center.

The lack of comment from Amazon on the cessation of their program implies that it was possibly just a venture that did not have the success they had hoped. So, they planned to quietly put their efforts into building other physical location programs soon.

Amazon does still offer Prime Now with two-hour delivery for impulse buyers who need things fast. After the purchase of Whole Foods, Prime Now even offers the delivery of a wide range of fresh grocery and pantry items as well.