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Wednesday, 24 May, 2000, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Online at the corner shop
corner stores
A pint of milk and some online shopping please
By BBC News Online internet reporter Mark Ward

Soon you will be able to pick up the books and CDs you ordered over the internet when you pop into the corner shop or fill up the car with petrol.

Although more and more people are shopping online, few of them are in during the day to take delivery of the goods they have ordered.

Often the packets being sent out are too big to fit through letter boxes and others have to be signed for.

Now British company Dropzone1 is signing up petrol stations and corner shops across the country that will take delivery on behalf of online shoppers.

An e-mail message will let the shoppers know when their purchases are in a dropzone near to their home.

The books, videos or other items can then be picked up when a shopper refuels their car or pops in to a local store on the way back from the office.

Network neighbourhood

The Dropzone1 service will be offered as a delivery option by online retailers when a customer comes to the pay for their purchases.

"E-tailers recognise that they need to offer alternative options for delivery," said Lynda Wallace, founder of Dropzone1.

Jet petrol stations and Londis and Spar convenience stores have signed up to the Dropzone1 scheme, providing 5000 local storage points for goods ordered on line.

Online stores are now signing up to the scheme too. Entertainment site Streets Online has become the first and other video, wine, clothing and travel sites are due to be announced soon.

The Dropzone1 service is being trialled in Reading, Berkshire, before being rolled out across the country later this year.

Services like Dropzone1 are common in Japan because house numbers on streets are rarely sequential.

As a result, many Japanese people order online then pop into the local corner store to pick up their purchases on the way home.

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