SEATTLE — Amazon has unveiled a network of staffed pickup stations called Counter. Each station is located in a partner retailer’s physical unit, starting with more than 100 Rite Aid stores in the United States. It plans to roll out the stations to all of Rite Aid's 1,500 stores by the end of the year. Amazon said it is actively looking to bring additional partners onboard, including convenience stores, small to midsize businesses and large chains.
Delivery to a Counter location is available for most items sold by the Seattle-based e-commerce firm and works with same-day, one-day, two-day and standard shipping. The service is available to all Amazon customers at no extra cost.
Counter originally launched in the United Kingdom with Next and in Italy with Giunti Al Punto Librerie, Fermopoint and SisalPay stores.
“Amazon is always looking for innovative and convenient ways for customers to ship and receive their orders,” said Patrick Supanc, worldwide director of Amazon Hub. “With Counter, we’ve leveraged our growing logistics network and invested in new, easy-to-use technology to give customers yet another delivery option rooted in flexibility and control. We are excited to partner with national businesses like Rite Aid, and local businesses in the future, to create an outstanding experience for our shared customers.”
Here's how Counter works: 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 email notification with a unique barcode as well as a reminder of the address and the business hours of their selected store. 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.
“Creating a seamless, convenient customer experience is a key element of our strategy and digital transformation,” said Jocelyn Konrad, executive vice president of pharmacy and retail operations for Rite Aid. “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 part of the Amazon Hub family, which includes Locker, Locker Plus and Apartment Locker, designed to offer more pickup and return points. Locker is available in more than 900 cities and U.S. towns, offering an alternative delivery option available at no additional cost. Locker Plus locations are staffed with associates and self-serve kiosks in neighborhoods, cities and campuses across the U.S. For apartment buildings, Apartment Locker gives residents a service to receive all their packages—from Amazon or other shipping services—at a time of their choosing.