Amazon has been coming up with some truly unique ways to expand its brick-and-mortar presence in recent years. The e-commerce giant recently partnered with Kohl’s to begin offering customers a way to return Amazon products without them having to make a trip to the post office. Now, Amazon has reached a partnership with Rite Aid to offer free, in-store pickup of eligible items through Amazon Hub Counter.
To start, Amazon is offering Hub Counter in over 100 Rite Aid stores across the US with ambitions to expand the program to 1,500 locations by the end of 2019. To accomplish this feat in such a short time, Amazon plans on enlisting some additional retail partners that have not yet been disclosed. The Hub Counter locations will offer pickup for all shipping options, and will hold packages for 14 days before sending them back.
“Amazon is always looking for innovative and convenient ways for customers to ship and receive their orders,” explains Patrick Supanc, Worldwide Director of Amazon Hub, which also includes its Locker, Locker+ and Apartment Locker pick-up services, in a statement. “With Counter, we’ve leveraged our growing logistics network and invested in new, easy to use technology to give customers yet another delivery option rooted in flexibility and control. We are excited to partner with national businesses like Rite Aid, and local businesses in the future, to create an outstanding experience for our shared customers.”
Not only will this in-store pickup option help drive traffic into Rite Aid stores, but it may also help prevent "porch pirates" from swiping deliveries from a customer's doorstep – another issue Amazon has been working tirelessly to prevent. Unlike Amazon Key though, the Hub Counter option won’t require you to allow a stranger into your home.
“Creating a seamless, convenient customer experience is a key element of our strategy and digital transformation,” said Jocelyn Konrad, Executive Vice President, Pharmacy and Retail Operations of Rite Aid, in a statement. “Being the first store partner for Counter in the U.S. is a differentiator for Rite Aid and we believe our partnership with Amazon, that includes Locker, creates a stronger in-store experience for existing customers and new customers that come in to pick up their packages.”