Amazon Counter serves up in-person pickup at retail stores

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Amazon has already tested the waters with in-person order pickup through services like Locker, but today the company is expanding on that concept in a pretty big way. Amazon is launching a new service called Counter, which is available in various Rite Aid locations around the US starting today. The idea behind Counter is pretty straightforward: Place an order on Amazon and instead of having it delivered to your house, you can have it shipped to a nearby Rite Aid and pick it up in person.

It might seem a little counter-intuitive to have your purchases shipped to a brick and mortar store when one of the major draws of shopping online is avoiding going to the store in the first place, but this partnership with Rite Aid definitely makes some sense. After all, if your package is left in the care of your local Rite Aid, that means it won't be sitting on your doorstep and tempting any would-be porch pirates into stealing it.

Counter is also an alternative to in-home drop off through Amazon Key, which is nice because the idea of giving a delivery person access to your home, trunk, or garage to drop off your packages probably doesn't sit well with some. Choosing delivery through Counter is a simple process – all it requires is that you select one of the nearby Counter pickup points at check out.

When your package is delivered to the store, you'll receive an email with a special barcode inside, which you'll show to store staff to get your package. Packages will be held at the store for 14 days, so you've got a pretty big pickup window if you can't make it to the store right after delivery.

Of course, even though Amazon is a competitor to brick and mortar stores, partnering with Amazon on Counter could still be beneficial to those retailers. After all, Counter ultimately gets people into the store, and it isn't hard to imagine that many people will make additional purchases when they pick up their packages.

Amazon says that Counter is launching in more than 100 Rite Aid locations today and that it plans to have the service live in 1,500 stores in the US by the end of the year. Even better is that Counter is available to everyone shopping on Amazon, so you don't need to be a Prime member in order to use it. To see Counter locations near you, you can check out Amazon's website. The company says that it's looking for more Counter partners, so we'll keep an eye out for additional information on that front.