1. Business

About 200 Stein Mart stores to get Amazon lockers

Published May 22

Stein Mart announced this week it will house Amazon lockers inside select stores in early June — but four Tampa Bay locations already have functioning lockers.

About 200 of the discount clothing and housewares stores will have the lockers, which includes every Tampa Bay location, according to a Stein Mart spokeswoman.

The Stein Mart locations at Tampa's 3916 Britton Place and 13210 N Dale Mabry Highway have the lockers already. So do the stores at 2522 N McMullen Booth Road in Palm Harbor and at 218 37th Ave. N in St. Petersburg. The Clearwater location on U.S. 19 N is expected to have the lockers soon.

"We are thrilled to offer this innovative delivery experience to Amazon customers while introducing new shoppers to Stein Mart," said Stein Mart CEO Hunt Hawkins in a statement.

The lockers don't house Stein Mart online orders for pickup, just Amazon orders. The lockers, which first started popping up locally in 2016, are used by Amazon shoppers who don't want to keep their packages on porches or can't make it to the post office by 5 p.m. The Stein Mart lockers will be accessible during store hours.

Amazon shoppers can select a Stein Mart locker, or another locker closer to them, when checking out from Whole Foods, which Amazon owns, has the lockers, as do a handful of area gas stations and convenience stores.

Jacksonville-based Stein Mart has 283 stores across 30 states. The company likely hopes the lockers will bring added foot traffic to their locations. It's a similar strategy to one now employed by Kohl's, where store employees package and handle Amazon returns at customer service.

A study done by Earnest Research of the Kohl's-Amazon pilot partnership program in Chicago showed the benefits of having Amazon-related perks inside otherwise unrelated brick-and-mortar stores. While first-time shoppers in stores without the return program went up 1 percent in 2017, first-time shoppers in the Chicago stores with the program went up 9 percent.

Following the announcement on Tuesday Stein Mart's stock prices rose sharply from below a dollar a share. By late Wednesday morning, prices per share were at about $1.22.

"Amazon will go where our customers are and deliver where and when they need us," Amazon's director of lockers and pickup, Patrick Supanc, said in a statement. "Rolling out Amazon Hub Lockers with Stein Mart is a great opportunity to provide a seamless shopping and delivery experience for our joint customers."

Once a package is ready, customers get an email with a unique barcode that allows them to pick up the delivery at the store's lockers.

Contact Sara DiNatale at Follow @sara_dinatale.


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