Amazon, on a quest to dominate delivery by getting packages to customers as quickly and conveniently as possible, is rolling out yet another option.
Starting Thursday, Amazon shoppers can pick up their packages at designated counters inside more than one hundred Rite Aid stores, a service that will be available at over 1,500 of the chain’s locations by the end of the year.
It’s the latest salvo in the battle for shoppers. Amazon transformed the retail landscape when it enabled customers to buy everything from books to mattresses online, but now that e-commerce has become commonplace, speedy, convenient delivery and pick up has become a key way Amazon and its rivals are competing.
With the new Rite Aid partnership, Amazon shoppers can go online and select a nearby counter location to pick up their purchase. They’ll be emailed a bar code when their package arrives. Then, after they arrive at the store, they’ll show the code to an employee who’ll scan it before handing over the item. Packages will be held for up to 14 days. And the service is free.
“Ultimately our goal is to provide a significantly larger and ultra-convenient range of choices for our customers to get their package,” says Patrick Supanc, worldwide director of Amazon Hub. “Customers have told us that sometimes delivery to their home or work isn’t always the best or most convenient option, They may live in a high-rise city apartment where it’s less convenient….You may want to pick something up while you’re traveling. So we want to give options to our customers for all of these scenarios.’’
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At a time when many Americans prefer to make their purchases by clicking on a keyboard, the Amazon pick-up counters are a potential boon to Rite Aid, enticing shoppers to head to an actual store.
“Adding counter will help us … attract new customers, and also obviously increase foot traffic into our stores,” says Jocelyn Konrad, Rite Aid’s executive vice president, pharmacy and retail operations.
Amazon’s pick up options already include lockers where customers can retrieve items at locations ranging from hotels to local banks in more than 900 communities. Amazon Prime customers can also have items ferried into their foyer or garage. And in the next several months, some may be able to get their packages dropped off by drone.
The counter pick-up option will potentially expand to thousands more locations as Amazon says it is interested in partnering with additional businesses.