Amazon customers can now opt to pick up the packages they order at certain nearby retailers, the company said Thursday, naming Rite Aid as its first partner for the program, called Counter.
Amazon has for years been working to improve delivery convenience and cut down on package theft. It has developed partnerships with homebuilders and apartment building operators to create hubs and lockers where packages can be dropped off. It also launched a program that allows customers to use smart locks to let delivery people inside their homes to drop off packages.
Amazon already has a partnership with Kohl’s stores, which accepts returns on behalf of the e-commerce giant, and has a growing network of its own physical stores. Its effort to expand pickups to more retailers shows the company feels the involvement of brick-and-mortar retail is essential to improving its e-commerce operations.
That should give Walmart, which says 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of its stores, a confidence boost as it attempts to grow online sales.