By Polly Chen
Faster and more convenient delivery is a primary goal in the ecommerce industry. Now Amazon is launching its Counter program in the U.S. to enable parcel pickup in Rite Aid stores.
The Counter program is now active in 100 Rite Aid stores and will expand to 1,500 stores by the end of this year. In the future, Amazon plans to bring more retailers, including small- and medium-sized businesses, to its Counter program.
The Counter program won’t cost customers extra money or require an extra subscription to use. Customers who buy goods on Amazon can select a Counter location as their delivery address during checkout.
In the meantime, international shipping giant FedEx is also partnering with local stores for a parcel pickup service. Amazon and FedEx hope partnerships with brick-and-mortar stores will make pickups easier and help attract more customers.
Counter enables quicker and easier package pickup
Amazon’s Counter is a network of staffed pickup points. It gives Amazon customers the option to pick up their Amazon packages in-store at a partner location.
Getting a package from an Amazon Counter only requires a few simple steps:
- Shop on Amazon
- Check out and select a Counter near you
- Wait for an email notification when your package arrives, which includes a unique barcode, a reminder of your selected Counter’s address and its business hours
- Go to the Counter and provide the barcode to store staff to retrieve your package
Another advantage with Counter is customers don’t need to pick up their package immediately when it arrives. They have 14 days to collect their packages.
Amazon Counter is part of the newly created Amazon Hub brand. Hub provides convenient and secure alternate pickup locations, such as lockers and staffed locations. These alternatives give flexibility to customers who don’t want to receive packages at home for security reasons.
Through the Counter program, Amazon can centralize pickups, further consolidate deliveries and potentially lower the cost of delivery per package. More importantly, Counter will help to solve the “last mile” delivery problem. By using Counter, Amazon can avoid the inefficiency of delivering packages one by one to customers’ homes.
FedEx also partners with Dollar General for package pickup
Amazon’s rival FedEx is also partnering with Dollar General to provide package pickup and drop-off services. FedEx plans to offer its service in more than 1,500 Dollar General stores by late summer 2019. FedEx will expand the total to more than 8,000 stores by the end of 2020.
By partnering with Dollar General, customers can pick up and drop off pre-packaged and pre-labeled FedEx Express shipments at Dollar General stores. FedEx said they ultimately aim for “90 percent of Americans [to] live within five miles of a FedEx hold retail location”.
FedEx’s Executive Vice President Brie Carere says “47 percent of customers prefer to make [returns] in-store”. The partnership will give customers access to more secure in-store return services, especially in rural locations where FedEx lacks physical locations.
On the retailers’ side, they may also benefit from partnering with delivery companies. Both Rite Aid and Dollar General have expressed hope that these in-store pickups will bring them more traffic. Rite Aid’s COO Bryan Everett said on Rite Aid’s earnings call:
A key aspect of our strategy is to grow our business by driving additional traffic into our existing network of stores… We believe that new initiatives like Amazon Locker give us a tremendous opportunity to achieve this critical objective.
However, the stores still need more time and data to measure whether the pickup services are actually helping their sales.
Follow the link below to learn more about how Amazon is using its Counter program to optimize parcel delivery.
Amazon adds counter parcel pickup in 100 Rite Aid stores – Emma Cosgrove, Supply Chain Dive
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Polly Chen is a Client Manager at InTouch Manufacturing Services, a QC firm that performs product inspections and factory audits in Asia for clients in the US, EU and Australia.