Save A Lot plans to make more than a third of its stores pickup and payment sites for Amazon.com purchases.
The deep discount grocer said Monday that some Save A Lot stores in the St. Louis area now enable shoppers to pay in cash for their Amazon orders using the Amazon PayCode service and pick up or return Amazon packages at Amazon Hub Lockers.
Plans call for Save A Lot to expand both services, which carry no additional fees, to more than 400 stores by the end of 2020.
"This rollout demonstrates our intent to be the most convenient neighborhood grocery option for our customers," Reid Tuenge, senior vice president of retail operations at Save A Lot, said in a statement. "By offering services like Amazon PayCode, we're helping to expand our customers' digital access, all in one convenient location. Not only can they pay for Amazon purchases either as a stand-alone transaction or as part of their regular grocery shop, but they can also pick up their packages securely in store."
To use the Amazon PayCode service at Save A Lot, customers go to checkout and select the "Amazon PayCode" payment option. They then receive an Amazon PayCode — a QR code and a number — that is referenced when they pay in cash for their Amazon purchase. PayCode already has been available at 15,000 Western Union agent locations.
Through Amazon Hub Locker, consumers can elect to have an Amazon order shipped to a Save A Lot store for pickup. During checkout on Amazon.com, shoppers select an Amazon Hub Locker at the nearest Save A Lot location to designate as their shipping address. Once the package is delivered to the locker and ready for pickup, they then receive an e-mail with a barcode. Next, customers go to the locker at the selected Save A Lot store, enter the code on the touchscreen, and a locker opens to release their package.
For a return, customers first go to Amazon.com to set up a return location at a Save A Lot locker. After receiving an email, they go to the locker, enter the provided code, and drop off their package in the open locker. The pickup/drop-off service is available during Save A Lot store hours.
Save A Lot noted that the addition of the Amazon services is part of efforts begun in 2016 to modernize the shopping experience at its stores. The retailer, which in December moved into a new headquarters in St. Ann, Mo., said it has been upgrading its St. Louis-area stores and exploring new customer-facing digital technologies under a plan to transform its business model.
"We are focused on improving our customers' lives through innovation," according to Ian Bone, senior director of corporate development at Save A Lot. "Our work with Amazon is only the first example of how Save A Lot is delivering unmatched value to our local communities with leading-edge technologies and strategic partnerships."
Save A Lot said it offers savings of up to 40% compared with traditional supermarkets on high-quality private-label and national-brand products, USDA-inspected meat, farm-fresh fruit and vegetables, and non-food items. Overall, the banner’s retail network includes nearly 1,200 corporate and licensed stores in 33 states and 14 wholesale distribution centers. The discount grocery chain was acquired by Canadian private-equity firm Onex Corp. in December 2016 from Supervalu Inc. for $1.4 billion.
Amazon recently stepped up efforts to partner with other retailers to launch package pickup/return services at their stores.
In October, Amazon expanded its Counter network of staffed, in-store pickup points to thousands more locations via partnerships with GNC, Health Mart and Stage Stores. The Counter service launched in June at 100 Rite Aid stores, with plans to bring it to over 1,500 of the drug chain’s locations. Department store chain Kohl’s recently rolled out an Amazon in-store return service to all of its 1,150 stores after a pilot that began in 2017. Meanwhile, the Amazon Locker program is available in more than 900 cities and towns nationwide, including Whole Foods Market and Stein Mart stores.