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01/06/2022

Amazon streamlines customer return process

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Amazon Returns
Amazon is offering free returns, no box required.

Amazon is trying to make returning purchases as easy as possible.

The e-tail giant is now providing thousands of free drop-off options for millions of items sold on its site. According to a corporate blog post, most customers will now have at least one free return option included on millions of items purchased on Amazon in the U.S.

After getting a QR code from the Amazon Return Center, customers can hand items for return to an associate without a box or label, and the associate will then pack and ship it for free.

Most items fulfilled by Amazon will qualify for a free return option. For customers who prefer to choose a packaged dropoff option, that choice will remain in addition to other options, some of which may require a fee. Amazon says all return options will be clearly shown in the Returns Center to ensure customers can select the available option that best suits their needs.

Amazon is making free, no-box returns available at several different locations.

Amazon physical stores
Customers can return eligible products at Amazon Books, Amazon 4-star, across the U.S. by walking into a store location, showing an associate the QR code, handing over their package in the original manufacturer’s packaging, and walking out. Returns are also free at AmazonFresh Pickup and Amazon Hub Locker+ locations, but customers will need to bring their items in a box or box it up using the provided materials.

Kohl’s
Amazon customers are able to return eligible items at 1,150 Kohl’s locations across 48 states, without a box, for free.

[Read more: Kohl's stores to accept returns – from Amazon]

Whole Foods Markets
Select stores have no-box returns, lockers and Locker+ options, with more coming soon.

The UPS Store
Customers can also choose to return eligible items free of charge at more than 4,768 UPS Store locations nationwide, with no box required for most items.

Amazon is expanding its in-person returns offering as consumers are increasingly asking for it. According to a recent consumer survey from Narvar, more than four in 10 (42%) respondents said they wish they could return items at the nearest convenience or grocery store, while 41% of respondents said it's easier to return in-store, but only 9% made their last return that way.

Looking further at what channels shoppers use to make returns, the survey revealed that 37% of respondents returned their last item by mail; and another 20% returned items to an alternative drop-off location, such as a locker or a pharmacy. Fifteen percent of respondents most recently returned items to a different designated retailer, such as making Amazon returns at a Kohl's store.

“We understand that finding a box and tape, and printing a label for a return can still be a hassle. Now, most Amazon returns are easier than ever with no box required,” Amazon said in the blog post. “Customers can buy with confidence knowing Amazon has great selection, fast shipping, low prices, and easy, hassle-free returns.”