Kohl’s and Amazon cement returns deal

US discount apparel retailer Kohl’s has formed an unlikely alliance with online giant Amazon, launching a returns service in 82 of its stores in Los Angeles and Chicago.

The arrangement means Kohl’s and Amazon will work together to make it easier for Amazon shoppers to return unwanted goods. From next month, they will be able to take their goods to a Kohl’s store where the merchandise will be packed and shipped for free back to an Amazon warehouse.

“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 Kohl’s chief administration officer Richard Schepp. “We are thrilled to launch this unprecedented and innovative concept.”

“Teaming up with Kohl’s provides an incredible opportunity to pair our world-class return experience with a great shopping experience, expanding our service options to our customers in the Los Angeles and Chicago areas,” added Shivi Shankaran, director of worldwide customer returns with Amazon.

While on the surface, Kohl’s is making it more convenient for consumers to shop on Amazon, the flip side is that it gets prospective customers offline into a physical store. Kohl’s will even provide designated parking spots for Amazon return customers, close to the store entrance. The greatest challenge for any retailer in the digital age is to get people into physical stores; once there, the company is confident it can create a compelling merchandising offer and tempt them to spend.

This is the second joint venture initiative from Kohl’s and Amazon: Earlier this month, Kohl’s announced a new Amazon smart home experience will be available in 10 select Kohl’s stores across the Chicago and Los Angeles areas starting in October. The 10 Kohl’s stores with the Amazon smart home experience will have Amazon returns integrated into the overall Amazon experience, located prominently at the front of the store.

Kohl’s has more than 1100 stores in 49 US states.

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