Remember that story from earlier this month where a Plymouth Meeting woman had $15,000 worth of gold and silver bars stolen from her front porch, after they were supposed to be delivered?
Enter PickupPoints, a new service from the Conshohocken-based company ShopRunner, that aims to prevent unfortunate events like the gold bar theft, while adding convenience.
PickupPoints was profiled in a recent Philadelphia Inquirer piece, which touts the service as a solution to the "obvious" problem of home deliveries for those who work during the day or live in an apartment.
Here's how it works: ShopRunner forms a collection of popular retailers, including companies like Toys'R'Us and 7-Eleven, and any time a customer makes a purchase online, they have the choice to have that package delivered to a local "in-network" store for convenient pick-up.
Order a new book from Borders-- pick it up at your closest 7-Eleven. Order some vitamins from GNC-- pick them up at the Toys'R'Us next to your work.
According to the Inquirer, ShopRunner-- helmed by ex-Yahoo president Scott Thompson-- tested the service at 20 Boston-area Walgreens last year and delivered over 15,000 packages to 4,500 customers. The service will likely compete with Amazon, the Inquirer predicted, because it drives foot traffic to stores that typically compete with the e-commerce behemoth.
The service launched in the Philadelphia area Monday, with a starting network of 89 Toys'R'Us, 7-Eleven, and Olly Shoe locations, includes the Ollys on West Germantown Pike in Plymouth Meeting. According to the Inquirer, the service costs $79 annually, but there's no charge for the first three months.
The company's owners have spent about two years gathering 65 retailers to participate in the service, the Inquirer reported, and plan to expand further to at least 18,000 store locations for a national launch in 2013.