Amazon quietly ended its year-old program that was supposed to be like a better vending machine

Amazon quietly ended its year-old program that was supposed to be like a better vending machine

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Amazon quietly ended its Instant Pickup offering.

  • Amazon announced Instant Pickup in August 2017, offering instant purchasing much like a vending machine.
  • It started with five Pickup locations and announced plans to expand.
  • Amazon has now quietly ended the program, a company spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider.
  • Amazon is still keeping and expanding the Pickup locations, which now have the same functionality without the instant offering.

A year ago, Amazon debuted a new way to pick up items within minutes of ordering them, calling it Instant Pickup.

Customers could order items like snacks, drinks, and basic essentials from the Amazon app and use a barcode to access their purchase at designated Pickup locations. An Amazon employee would fill an Instant Pickup locker within minutes of the order being placed.

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However, Amazon has pulled the plug on the service, a company spokesperson has confirmed to Business Insider. The company did not specify when the service ended.

The service was designed for impulse, need-it-now purchases. It used Amazon Pickup locations that were already in operation for traditional pickups. When the service was announced in August 2017, it was available at five Pickup locations, including college campuses, and announced plans to expand to more.


Instant Pickup made the Pickup locations more like a store than just a receiving center. It was like a large vending machine with a staff of one.

The cancellation of the rollout is a rare step back for the retailer, which has been going full-steam ahead on opening physical locations. It continues to open Amazon Books stores and pop-up locations, and it recently opened a new store concept called Amazon 4-star. It's possible that Instant Pickup was just an experiment that did not turn out the way Amazon hoped it would.

Instead of Instant Pickup, Amazon is focusing on its Pickup locations, which allow customers to pick up and drop off items to be returned. The centers also offer free, same-day pickup on some locations for Prime members, but that's the fastest Amazon is offering now that Instant Pickup has been rolled back.

When Business Insider tested the Pickup location, we found it easy and simple to use, but limited in functionality.