Originally published by RIS News.
As an e-commerce giant, Amazon has lacked one edge brick-and-mortar retailers have: in-store returns. That's about to change. Kohl’s will add free returns for Amazon customers in 82 stores beginning in October.
Items can be returned free of charge regardless of the reason or whether the items are packaged for shipping. The stores across Los Angeles and Chicago will pack and ship all returned items to Amazon return centers.
“We are thrilled to launch this unprecedented and innovative concept, allowing customers to bring in their unpackaged Amazon returns to Kohl’s and we will pack them, ship them, and return them to Amazon for free,” said Richard Schepp, the chain's chief administrative officer. “This is a great example of how Kohl’s and Amazon are leveraging each other's strengths: the power of Kohl’s store portfolio and omnichannel capabilities combined with the power of Amazon’s reach and loyal customer base.”
Shoppers utilizing the "Kohl’s for Amazon Returns" service will be able to use designated parking spots near store entrances.
Kohl’s recently unveiled a new Amazon smart home experience that will be available in 10 stores across the Chicago and L.A. markets starting in October. At those stores, the returns service will be integrated into the overall Amazon experience, located prominently at the front.
"We continue to observe more and more collaboration between digitally native companies and traditional retailers — a theme that we think will continue to build momentum in the coming quarters," commented Gordon Haskett analyst Chuck Grom.
Grom noted that the move will let Kohl's leverage unutilized parts of its store footprint and help improve foot traffic. "Kohl’s has historically seen a roughly 25%-30% uptick in baskets from BOPUS transactions, so it’s plausible that the company will see some benefit," he said.
Amazon has previously lacked a physical location for returns, one advantage brick-and-mortar retailers had over the e-commerce giant.
“Amazon Returns at Kohl’s creates a convenient location ... to return eligible Amazon.com merchandise,” said Shivi Shankaran, the e-tailer's director of worldwide customer returns. “Teaming up with Kohl’s provides an incredible opportunity to pair our world-class return experience with a great shopping experience.”