“We have begun testing select Staples locations as drop-off points for Amazon returns,” said Amazon spokesperson Lauren Samaha in remarks shared with Retail TouchPoints, adding that Amazon is “always innovating on behalf of our customers and identifying convenient solutions to shop and make returns.”
Back in 2017, Amazon announced a then-unprecedented partnership with Kohl’s to pilot a returns drop-off program — a program that now includes all Kohl’s stores across the country. Since that time Amazon has expanded box-free, label-free return drop-offs to most of its own retail stores — including more than 500 Whole Foods and more than 120 Amazon Go, Amazon Fresh and Amazon Style locations — as well thousands of UPS Stores. Amazon Counter hubs at Rite Aid stores and Amazon Locker+ locations (lockers that are staffed by an Amazon associate) also offer shoppers a range of pickup and return options.
The growing number of partnerships between Amazon and large national chains points to a shifting attitude among legacy retailers toward the ecommerce disruptor. Many traditional retailers spent years trying to fight Amazon’s dominance, including Staples, which went so far as to remove Amazon lockers from its stores and offer a price-match guarantee back in 2013. However, in the more than nine years since, Amazon lockers have made their return to Staples and are once again available at locations across the country.
Far from capitulation, partnerships like the one Staples is now exploring with Amazon reflect a more nuanced approach to today’s omnichannel and omni-brand consumer and retail landscape. After it began accepting Amazon returns, Kohl’s saw a 9% increase in new customers and an 8% bump in revenue, according to Earnest Research.
[Editor’s Note: Staples did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.]
[Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Dec. 14 to include mention of that fact that Amazon lockers have returned to Staples stores after the company’s 2013 decision to remove them.]