Amazon has announced a major expansion for its package pickup service in the U.S.
Counter, as the service is known, allows Amazon customers to select a third-party location to have their parcel sent to, which may be convenient for those unable to take receipt of a package at their home address. For retailers signing up to allow their venues to be used as pickup locations, their incentive is simple: a customer entering a store to collect a parcel may then hang around to buy other things while they’re there. It’s all about increasing footfall.
Amazon first launched Counter in Europe back in May, before rolling it out in the U.S. the following month. Initially, Counter was made available in 100 Rite Aid Stores across the U.S., though it previously said that it expected to go live in more than 1,500 by the end of 2019. With today’s news, Amazon is ramping up Counter’s presence in thousands more brick-and-mortar stores through striking partnerships with health and nutrition outlet GNC, pharmacy chain Health Mart, and department store brand State Stores.
The process for collecting a parcel will work exactly the same at these retail outlets as it does at Rite Aid: the customer orders as usual through the Amazon app or website, except now they will have additional retailer options to choose as their delivery address. When the package arrives at its destination, the customer receives an email notification with a barcode that enables them to collect it. On the retailer side, Amazon has developed a separate app to help them manage all the parcel deliveries.
Counter represents part of Amazon’s broader suite of delivery services that it calls Hub, which includes Amazon Locker and Apartment Locker. But more than that, it constitutes part of a multi-pronged approach it is adopting to meet the growing demand for speedy and flexible deliveries, which includes delivering goods to customers’ garages, homes, and cars. The company is also pushing to expand its delivery capacity through leasing more cargo planes, and even creating its own network of independent delivery fleets, which includes paying its existing employees to quit their jobs to start their own courier businesses.
It’s worth noting here that Counter isn’t limited to Amazon Prime customers — it simply serves as an additional delivery address for those unable to take receipt of a parcel in person. That said, Prime members will still be able to enjoy some of the benefits of their membership, including same-day or one-day deliveries direct to their preferred retail location.
“This new network of pickup points gives customers a pickup experience that is fast, flexible and convenient, and partners are thrilled with the strong engagement and additional foot traffic Counter is driving for their stores,” noted Amazon Hub director Patrick Supanc, in a press release.