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Amazon To Roll Out Thousands More Pickup Counters With New Store Partnerships

Amazon Hub Counters are pickup locations for Amazon packages within other stores, staffed by that store's employees.

Amazon continues to expand the ways in which its customers can receive packages, which has produced another set of partnerships.

The e-commerce giant announced that it was expanding its Amazon Counter program to thousands of stores across the country in a press release on Wednesday. As part of the Amazon Hub group of programs that provide alternatives for home delivery, Amazon Counter had already been in place at hundreds of Rite-Aid pharmacies since June.

Amazon's newest partners are Health Mart, Smart Stores and struggling wellness retailer GNC. Health Mart franchises independently owned and operated neighborhood pharmacies, while Smart Stores operates department store brands like Gordmans off-price stores, Bealls, Goody’s, Palais Royal, Peebles and Stage, according to the statement.

As a subsidiary of the main company, Amazon Hub runs Amazon Locker, which places P.O. boxes inside stores serviced by Amazon package delivery; Amazon Locker+, which operates counters at university student centers and some stand-alone locations where Amazon employees retrieve deliveries; and Amazon Apartment Locker, which operates package delivery rooms in participating multifamily buildings.

With Amazon Counter, a customer receives an emailed notification that their package has arrived at a participating store, as well as a bar code for pickup. Cashiers at those stores, not Amazon employees, then scan those bar codes and retrieve the matching parcel. Amazon Counter holds items for up to 14 days, the press release states.

Amazon claimed in its release that in Rite-Aid and pilot locations of GNC, Health Mart and Stage Stores, "tens of thousands" of customers have entered physical stores to pick up online orders at Amazon Counter. It also claims to have received interest in Counter from "an array of retailers, convenience stores and small businesses."