Amazon has announced the expansion of its Counter offering, with three new partners in GNC, Health Mart and Stage Stores offering staffed pickup and drop-off areas in stores across the US.
Counter, which launched earlier this year and made headlines with its partnership in Kohl’s stores, is part of the Amazon Hub network of collection locations. Hub includes Counter locations as well as thousands of Amazon Locker installations.
The aggressive expansion of Amazon’s physical presence in retail spaces is clearly part of a strategy to offer more convenient locations for shoppers to pick up their orders in stores. In the UK many retailers report that as much as half of their orders are collected in store, and as the US market continues to mature in this direction Amazon may be trying to compensate for its lack of store infrastructure. At this pace, Amazon is on track to own the largest global PUDO network in the world.
It also comes at a time where rivals like Target and Walmart are investing heavily in store pickup options, including automated lockers and having orders brought out to a customer’s car.