This morning Amazon is announcing a new initiative called Counter, ramping up its in-person presence around the United States. Amazon Counter is expected to be in 1,500 stores by the end of the year with a focus on partnerships with existing retail locations like Rite Aid. Shoppers will be able to pick up packages, shop select Amazon products, and even make returns. While other major brick and mortar retailers are looking to ramp up their online business to compete with the online giant, Amazon appears to targeting physical storefronts as a means of expanding its own operation. Amazon Counter is just the latest in a string of moves including Amazon Go grocery stores, physical book marketplaces, and more that have popped up in the last year. Head below for more.
Amazon Counter plans to rapidly expand in 2019
Amazon Counter will initially start in 100 Rite Aid stores across the United States, with plans to increase its footprint to 1,500 locations by the end of 2019. Rite Aid and Amazon have an existing partnership in place with the former already hosting Amazon Lockers at various stores. Expanding this partnership to the front checkout counter seems like a natural move for them both.
This new service will allow customers to pickup packages and carry out other Amazon-related tasks at eligible Rite Aid locations. It’s a simple solution for those worried about online ordering or package theft, particularly around the holidays. In this case, Amazon Counter will act as a post office of sorts, letting customers pick up packages as their schedules see fit. With Prime Day 2019 on the horizon, this could be perfect timing for Amazon’s latest service.
Here’s how it works, per Amazon:
After shopping on Amazon.com, customers proceed to checkout and select one of the Counter pickup points available in their zip code as their delivery location. As soon as their package arrives at the store, customers receive an e-mail notification with a unique barcode. At the store, customers provide the barcode to store staff, who will scan it, retrieve the package, and hand it to the customer. Customers have 14 days to collect their package.
Bigger plans on the horizon
Today’s Amazon Counter press release details plans to expand the network “to thousands of other locations through additional partnerships with retailers, convenience stores and small businesses across the U.S.” This gives us an even better glimpse into what Amazon has planned for the future as it continues to wage war on the traditional brick and mortar retail experience.
With the purchase of Whole Foods, and various other brick and mortar initiatives out there, Amazon has made it clear that its days of having an online-only presence are long gone. Amazon Counter is set to roll out across the United States starting today. You can learn more about this new program right here, and find out if it’s available in your area.