Kohl’s to accept product returns for Amazon
Only a few weeks ago, retail experts were discussing whether Kohl’s was letting a Trojan Horse in through the front door by opening Amazon.com smart home experience shops within 10 of its stores in Chicago and Los Angeles. Now, Kohl’s is making another move that appears to indicate an even tighter bond with Amazon.
Beginning next month, Kohl’s will accept returns for items purchased from the e-tailer in 82 of its stores in the Chicagoland and LA markets. The chain believes that the Amazon partnership could bring back foot traffic by giving Amazon e-commerce customers a reason to visit Kohl’s.
Amazon customers will be able to return items to Kohl’s regardless of the reason and whether or not they are packed for shipping. Participating locations, which will offer designated parking spots for customers making returns to Amazon, will pack and transport items to the e-tailer’s return centers.
“This is a great example of how Kohl’s and Amazon are leveraging each other’s strengths — the power of Kohl’s store portfolio and omnichannel capabilities combined with the power of Amazon’s reach and loyal customer base,” said Richard Schepp, Kohl’s chief administrative officer, in a statement.
The move comes after Amazon’s highly-publicized entry into the brick-and-mortar grocery space through the recent acquisition of Whole Foods. Since the acquisition, Whole Foods has implemented a policy of accepting Amazon.com returns in its 400 stores. This has led to some speculation that Amazon has its sights set on acquiring Kohl’s, as well.
It is not clear from statements made by the companies if Amazon will install its own employees at Kohl’s locations to pack the returns or if Kohl’s employees will be used.
Amazon has partnered with other retailers in the past in ways that create a brick-and-mortar front end for its online operations. Beginning in 2011, for instance, Amazon has made Amazon Lockers available at some 7-Eleven stores, so that e-commerce customers who can’t easily receive home deliveries can still shop on Amazon.
- Kohl’s Announces Amazon Returns at Select Kohl’s Stores – Kohl’s
- Kohl’s to accept Amazon returns in 82 stores – Reuters
- Is Kohl’s giving away the store to Amazon? – RetailWire
- Photos: A look at Amazon’s new delivery locker at 7-Eleven – GeekWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What does Kohl’s hope to gain in the long-term from its bond with Amazon? How far should Kohl’s go in aligning itself with Amazon, and what would be too far?