A New Amazon Returns Location: Staples

A pilot program makes Staples another place for customers to drop off Amazon returns for packaging and shipment.

A pedestrian walks by a Staples office supply store on in San Francisco, California.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Amazon is running a pilot program with some Staples stores for its customers to drop off items they'd like to return to the online retailer, usually at no cost to the customer.

The program is similar to what Amazon does with Kohl’s stores, allowing customers to return items at Kohl’s — with Kohl’s employees typically handling the packaging and shipping of the return. Customers use a bar code Amazon that sends when the customer initiates the return online. The Kohl's/Amazon partnership has been in place since 2017, and Amazon customers also have the option of dropping off returns at UPS stores and other retail sites that are designated Amazon Hub locations.

“We are always innovating on behalf of our customers and identifying convenient solutions to shop and make returns,” Samaha Samaha of Amazon told the online site RetailDive. “We have begun testing select Staples locations as drop-off points for Amazon returns.”

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Amazon and Staples did not release the names of the Staples stores participating in the pilot program.

If the pilot is successful and Amazon moves forward with the partnership, it would give customers 1,035 more locations to drop off Amazon returns. That’s how many stores Staples has in the U.S.

Such partnerships are good for retailers that take on the task of accepting, packaging and shipping Amazon returns. And with Staples, Amazon shoppers have another place to drop off returns besides UPS, Kohl's and Whole Foods stores. And like Kohl’s, Staples will gain some potential shoppers, as they head inside to drop off their Amazon returns at customer service. Staples could drum up some business if it pushes merchandise between the store entrance and the designated Amazon return dropoff point.  In Kohl’s case, it put the Amazon return center deep inside the store (or at some Kohl's, it's in the back of the second level of the store). That's a whole lot of potential merch to pass by as you drop off the Amazon package and leave the store. 

Amazon on Returns 

If you’re new to Amazon Prime shopping, you may want to know what Amazon’s return policy is (it could be very different from alternatives to Amazon Prime for free shipping and returns). While the site has not yet said Staples stores are points of return, Amazon clearly outlines the how-tos of making returns.

Note that there are some things you can’t return to Amazon, but they probably aren’t on your holiday giving or receiving list anyway.

Making returns easier for customers by opening up more return locations is yet another perk of Amazon Prime. Counting those benefits has become a must for those considering the fate of their Amazon Prime membership, which became 17% more costly in 2022. Some perks, including Amazon Treasure Truck and Amazon Drive, have been axed (or soon will be). But 2022 saw a new bonus when Amazon opened up its record vaults to Amazon Prime subscribers.  

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Bob Niedt

Bob was Senior Editor at Kiplinger.com for seven years and is now a contributor to the website. He has more than 40 years of experience in online, print and visual journalism. Bob has worked as an award-winning writer and editor in the Washington, D.C., market as well as at news organizations in New York, Michigan and California. Bob joined Kiplinger in 2016, bringing a wealth of expertise covering retail, entertainment, and money-saving trends and topics. He was one of the first journalists at a daily news organization to aggressively cover retail as a specialty and has been lauded in the retail industry for his expertise. Bob has also been an adjunct and associate professor of print, online and visual journalism at Syracuse University and Ithaca College. He has a master’s degree from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a bachelor’s degree in communications and theater from Hope College.