Amazon and Kohl’s are expanding their partnership that allows customers of the former to return their items to the latter’s retail stores. Beginning in July, Kohl’s will take back items you’ve ordered from Amazon and want to return for a refund. You don’t need to pack them up in a box, either; the retailer will handle all aspects of shipping and get the items back to one of Amazon’s return centers on your behalf. And everything is completely free. Kohl’s has been offering this convenience since 2017 at around 100 of its stores, but in July, it’ll be available at every location.
Kohl’s says it will take all “eligible” Amazon purchases. I’ve asked the company what items would be considered ineligible under the program, but I’d guess it’s mainly oversized items or other illogical things to push onto a store. Also, you’ll likely be out of luck if your item came from a third-party Amazon marketplace seller.
“I think the returns initiative is one where we can really leverage each other’s strengths. I think one of the benefits of being in brick and mortar and having an online business is to accommodate easy returns,” Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass told CNBC in an interview, noting that “80 percent of America lives within 10 miles of a Kohl’s.”
What does Kohl’s get out of being the middleman between you and Amazon? The possibility that you’ll buy something from them when making the trip, of course. “If we go forward, it really does need to be a win-win for both of us,” Gass said when discussing the earlier pilot with Amazon. Apparently, it has proven to be exactly that.
To return something from Amazon with Kohl’s, you actually start the process on Amazon’s website and then choose Kohl’s drop-off as your preferred return method. Amazon makes online shopping returns plenty easy, whether you want a prepaid shipping label to mail it back yourself or you prefer to just drop something off at an Amazon Locker location. But this option might prove popular with people who prefer just getting it done in person — assuming you can put up with waiting in the customer service line at your local Kohl’s. At least parking should be easier: the retailer installed dedicated parking spaces for customers who are making Amazon returns at some of its stores during the pilot phase.