Amazon is expanding its delivery options with Counter, a network of staffed pickup points at partner locations. The system already has been rolled out at hundreds of Rite Aid locations and will reach 1,500 across the U.S. by the end of 2019. Amazon is planning to expand the program to thousands of retail partners, including local businesses, in the near future.
Delivery to a Counter location is available with all standard shipping options, including same-day, and is open to all customers at no additional cost. Shoppers can pick a Counter pickup point near their zip code as the delivery location, where associates will retrieve the package for them. They have 14 days to collect their order after it is delivered.
“Creating a seamless, convenient customer experience is a key element of our strategy and digital transformation,” said Jocelyn Konrad, Executive VP, Pharmacy and Retail Operations at Rite Aid in a statement. “Being the first store partner for Counter in the U.S. is a differentiator for Rite Aid and we believe our partnership with Amazon, that includes Locker, creates a stronger in-store experience for existing customers and new customers that come in to pick up their packages.”
Counter is designed with a straightforward pickup flow to ensure associates can serve Amazon customers without disrupting their usual responsibilities. The service originated with retailers in the UK and Italy, where it drove additional foot traffic for partners.
The expanded pickup options will help Amazon increase the pressure on competitors like Target during its expanded Prime Day promotion. Target had been promoting BOPIS and curbside pickup to differentiate Target Deal Days, so the launch of Counter brings Amazon closer to brick-and-mortar parity.
The service also will benefit Rite Aid, which just reported a $99.3 million net loss despite a 1.4% same-store sales increase for Q1 2020. The disappointing results caused the retailer’s shares to drop 8%, but the Amazon partnership caused them to climb 5% the next morning, according to CNBC.