Another Step Into Brick And Mortar: Amazon Partners With Kohl’s For In-Store Returns

Earlier this year, Amazon shook the retail world with its purchase of Whole Foods—a purchase that validated the significant value of brick and mortar locations, even for the world’s largest online retailer.

As many as 90% of retail transactions still take place in stores, with consumers taking advantage of brick and mortar locations to do the things that can’t be replicated online – seeing and touching merchandise, walking out with their purchases and receiving immediate credit or replacement for returned products.

While Amazon initially responded to consumer desires for physical return locations  with “lockers” that cropped up at malls and other shopping destinations, they recently took another step in this direction through a partnership with Kohl’s. The two retailers have teamed up to roll out services that will allow Amazon customers to make free returns at Kohl’s stores.

Starting at select locations, Kohl’s will begin accepting returns of Amazon purchases, which they will then pack up and return to the eCommerce giant at no charge to the customer. Given that 70% of consumers prefer to return online purchases to a store, this is a powerful step by Amazon to remove a key pain point from the eCommerce experience.

While this partnership is a big win for Amazon from a customer service standpoint, it also stands to benefit Kohl’s. Just as with BOPIS services, this new offering will drive additional foot traffic into Kohl’s stores. And with 60% of consumers reporting that they are likely to make an impulse purchase once they are in the store, the incremental traffic generated from Amazon returns will likely drive additional sales for Kohl’s. Considering the fact that it has also been making significant investments to upgrade its in-store technology, Kohl’s is making strong progress toward becoming an omnichannel leader.

As the undisputed eCommerce leader, Amazon is constantly searching for ways to enhance the shopping experience for consumers. Lately, those improvements have come in the form of acquisitions and partnerships with brick and mortar retailers; showing that even the top online retailer has something to gain from physical store locations. In the case of in-store returns, this latest partnership with Kohl’s offers Amazon shoppers a truly omnichannel experience – and one that will further cement Amazon’s leadership status when it comes to frictionless commerce.

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