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Many Happy Returns For Amazon & Kohl’s

Their click-and-mortar pilot's on the move.

A nine-month-old click-and-mortar concept conceived with Amazon is catching on at Kohl’s.

The program, Amazon Returns at Kohl’s, allows the e-tailer’s customers to return their purchases at select Kohl’s locations at no charge, and with or without their original packaging.

Kohl’s staff pack and ship all eligible items, and the discount department store even provides designated parking spots for Amazon Returns customers near store entrances.

The traffic-driving program launched last fall at 82 Kohl’s locations in Chicago and Los Angeles, and now, CEO Michelle Gass said, it’s expanded to the Milwaukee market with 21additional stores.

“We’re really pleased with the partnership,” she told analysts on a second-quarter earnings call. “We feel really good about the customer experience that we’ve created [and] the Amazon partners we work with also do.”

“It’s a frictionless experience,” she continued. “We’re getting really great feedback from customers.”

That said, the program is still in the assessment stage as Kohl’s analyzes the cost of the customer benefit.

“We are studying it very closely,” Gass allowed. “All elements have to work. The operations have to work, the financials have to work. So we are doing our best to really understand and dig deep before any decision is made going forward.”

The CEO added that the combined 103 pilot stores provide “a really robust dataset to make a great decision down the road.”

No mention was made of a second Kohl’s/Amazon project, which at last count was comprised of 10 in-store smart-home shops. The 1,000-square-foot Smart Home Experience At Kohl’s sections are adjacent to the Amazon return desks and feature the e-tailer’s proprietary Echo, Kindle and Fire products, along with Bose speakers and smart door locks, thermostats and security cameras.

See: Amazon Pop-Ups Popping Up All Over

Amazon made the Kohl’s connection as part of a broad expansion into brick-and-mortar that includes scores of bookstores, mall-based pop-up shops and the Whole Foods supermarket chain.

Hat tip to GeekWire.