Like many of us, I buy lots of things on Amazon. While I do my best to limit the items that I need to return, it happens. Recently, I had two separate items that I purchased through Amazon that I needed to send back. While the process isn't difficult, it is a little bit of a pain to have to return an Amazon item, especially once you've discarded the box. Enter Kohls! Learn how they leveraged a partnership with Amazon to grow their business.
An Interesting Partnership Development
Not too long ago, Kohls teamed up with Amazon to accept returns at their stores. I didn't pay much attention to it the time it was announced but since I had to return my items, I thought I would give it a try. Amazon, of course, makes it as simple as possible. Once you initiate the refund process, they presented me with several options to include dropping it off at a UPS store or even having UPS pick it up. The other option, the one I chose for both items, was to bring it to the nearest, participating Kohls store. The best part, it didn't need to be in a box and I didn't have to print a return label. Other than driving two miles to the nearest store and walking about 100 feet through the entrance, it truly couldn't have been easier.
Once inside and at the customer service desk, it was clear that Amazon returns were a big deal at Kohls. There were a couple of racks, marked Amazon Returns, behind the counter, that were full of items. If I had to guess, I would say it numbered close to 100 and that was just what I could see. I waited my turn and then approached the lady behind the counter and presented my items. With just a quick scan of the return code on my phone, my items were taken from me and on their way back to Amazon. What happened next is where the business lesson comes in and how you can learn about growing your business!
Growing Your Business By Getting Creative
Since I had two separate returns, I was handed two receipts containing my return confirmation. The lady assisting me then informs me that each receipt is good for a 25% discount on any transaction at Kohls but it expires in 7 days. Keep in mind that this was per transaction, not 25% off a single item. Now, I don't know the details of the arrangement between Amazon and Kohls but it really doesn't matter to me. What matters is the lesson that was staring me in the face.
Amazon was lacking an easy user experience for returns and Kohls, like many retail giants today, needs more potential customers through their doors. Kohls provided a huge value to a giant like Amazon and has figured out a way to capitalize on the foot traffic that has resulted from their partnership. It's a classic situation of adding value from the little guy to the big guy to get ahead.
Now, I'm sure that everyone that comes into return an Amazon item doesn't take their coupon and make use of it in 7 days but I did. I was there anyway and it was 25% off my entire purchase. Both retailers win and I walk away a happy consumer. How can you apply this lesson in your own business?
Options For Growing Your Business In A Similar Way
What do you have that someone else needs? Do you have a brick and mortar location that an online retailer may have a use for? Do you have a complimentary service that would make sense to partner up with someone to create a package deal? In the fight to growing your business, it makes sense to think outside the box. Figure out what value you can provide to someone else and strike up the conversation. If you want to scale your business quickly, you may find that partnerships with existing companies are the fastest way to grow.
Next time you have an item to return to Amazon, choose whatever option works best for you but let it be a reminder about growing your business.