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Thursday, 27 July, 2000, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
Online shopping gets more convenient
Shopping basket
Pick up your CDs and cereal at the same time
By BBC News Online internet reporter
Mark Ward

Thousands of local shops will soon be acting as drop-off and pick-up points for the goods that people buy online.

Instead of having packages delivered to your home, online shoppers will soon be able to choose to have them delivered to a local shop they can visit on the way home from work.

The news comes on the heels of another announcement that there are plans to use milkmen as a means of getting goods bought online to busy shoppers.

Delivery specialist M-Box has signed up well-known chains of local shops and convenience stores such as Londis, Spar and Costcutter to take delivery of goods ordered online by people living close by.

Scottish stores such as Botterills, David Sands and Jacksons are also taking part.

A trial of the service with 1,000 stores is being planned but eventually over 10,000 shops will be taking part.

Package problems

While many e-tailers have slick websites, many are struggling to get the goods people order online to customers. Often the people shopping online are those who are at work all day and cannot wait for packages to be delivered to their homes.

A lot of small companies have sprung up that are trying to help e-tailers get goods to people. Some e-tailers are starting to offer the drop-off services as one of the delivery options on their sites.

Earlier this year, a service called Dropzone1 launched, which is planning to use petrol stations and corner shops as drop-off points.

Earlier this month, Express Dairies announced that its milkmen would soon be delivering goods for e-tailers.

US consumers are taking a more robust attitude to web companies that cannot deliver.

This week, seven net retailers, including CD Now and Toys-R-Us, agreed to pay fines totalling 1m because they misled customers about when goods would be delivered.

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See also:

08 Jun 00 | Sci/Tech
Mobiles bag barcode bargains
24 May 00 | Sci/Tech
Online at the corner shop
12 Jun 00 | Business
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