Amazon's Treasure Truck parked on a sidewalk

Amazon’s Treasure Truck Redefines “In-Store” Pickup

“You’ve done the impossible!”

“You lucky mother…”

“Whattttttttttt, so jealous right now...”

Those are just a few replies to my social media post this past weekend showing off my acquisition of the Nintendo NES Classic Edition.  The nostalgic video game console was discontinued back in April, but even going back to launch nearly a year ago it was nearly impossible to find for the majority of shoppers.  It was one of the hot-ticket items this past holiday season, and I’d given up hope of ever buying one for myself.

So how did I get it?  Did I win a contest?  Did I pay a 250% markup to a reseller on eBay?  Did I camp outside a Toys ‘R Us all night long?  Nope—in fact, buying the NES Classic was one of the simplest and most seamless shopping experiences I’ve ever had, thanks to the Amazon Treasure Truck.

Amazon has been experimenting with the Treasure Truck for the past two years in Seattle, and this past Saturday they expanded it to five additional markets.  The launch was a one-day event where Amazon offered this impossible-to-find video game console for the original price of $60.  Purchasing it was incredibly easy:

  1. Saturday morning I read an article from CNET about the launch event.
  2. I opened the Amazon app on my phone, and with just a few taps I had reserved my console and received a confirmation email highlighting the timeframe within which I had to pick up my purchase.
  3. I went to the Treasure Truck location, walked up and scanned my confirmation email, and was handed my NES Classic.

There were no lines and no hassles.  The most inconvenient part was driving across town to the truck’s location, but leaving with my product in hand more than made up for the traffic—and I wasn’t charged until an Amazon employee scanned the confirmation email on my phone, so if I had missed the pickup window I wouldn’t have had to pay anything.  Amazon had a few contests and drawings set up around the Treasure Truck to give the pickup location some personality, but what I was most impressed with was how simple they made everything.

I’m very much looking forward to seeing how often Amazon rolls out the treasure truck, and what sort of products they feature moving forward.  I’m also thinking back to the hunts my wife and I have gone on to find specific holiday presents over the past few years.  After last Saturday’s experience, I absolutely know that if anything on next year’s gift shopping list is offered on the Amazon Treasure Truck, that’s where I’m going to buy it without a second of hesitation.

As Amazon continues to expand their footprint and disrupt shopping habits, other brands would do well to analyze and emulate the approach driving their success.  In today’s expectation economy, a seamless cross device and online to offline experience are the foundation to customer satisfaction.  I wasn’t planning to buy an NES Classic last Saturday, but Amazon made it so incredibly easy to say “yes.”  Brands that focus on identifying and removing every point of friction in their conversion process will reap the same rewards.