Amazon.com and Borders sign in-store pickup deal

Online retailer Amazon.com is expanding its presence in a deal that will allow shoppers to pick up online book and music orders...

Online retailer Amazon.com is expanding its presence in a deal that will allow shoppers to pick up online book and music orders at their local Borders book shops.

In the announcement, the two retailers unveiled an in-store pickup programme that they hope will make it more convenient for customers to find the products they are looking for and give them an easy way to exchange or return online purchases in nearby stores.

Terms of the multiyear deal between Borders Group and Amazon.com were not disclosed.

Ann Binkley, a Borders spokeswoman, said the online capabilities will be ready at more than 365 Borders stores in November, just before the christmas season.

Online shoppers will be able to research their book, CD and DVD purchases online at Borders' site on Amazon.com, then check availability at as many as five local Borders retail stores based on their zip code. Customers can then choose an in-store pickup option so that books and other products will be held for them in the stores, Binkley said.

This is an "added customer enhancement" that had been sought by shoppers, she said.

Merchandise will be priced at national Borders prices or at store prices, if they are lower. Customers will receive an e-mail confirmation of their orders, and while no shipping charges will apply, local taxes will be collected.

"This agreement is an important next step in the extremely successful alliance we've experienced with Amazon.com," said Greg Josefowicz, Borders Group chairman, president and chief executive officer, in a statement.

"Customers overwhelmingly indicate a desire for the convenience of in-store pickup, and we're delighted to offer it to the world's largest online audience of book, music and movie lovers." He added.

Bill Curry, a spokesman for Amazon, said the deal "combines the best of both worlds" for consumers by making it easier for them to shop without wasted trips to the stores. By using the Web site, customers also have access to reviews of items and other information that can be helpful in making their purchases, he said.

Carol Baroudi, an analyst at Baroudi & Associates said that for customers, the idea of being able to research purchases online and have the items confirmed as available and waiting for them upon arrival in the store is perfect.

"Customers don't want to have to wait," she added. "If they can find it and [store clerks] will hold it for them, it's a big deal."

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