n the 1983 movie Return of the Jedi, at the moment when Luke is most tempted to give into his hate and the dark side, Emperor Palpatine goats Luke:  “Come, boy, see for yourself. From here, you will witness the final destruction of the Alliance and the end of your insignificant rebellion”.  Although bricks and mortar retail will always have a role in retail, Amazon continues to make ecommerce orders easier and easier, giving customers fewer reasons to visit a store.

I was inspired by an early spring Saturday and ordered several car cleaning supplies with the hopes of somehow talking my teenage boys into washing the cars this summer.  I had to return one of the items and noticed several small but noticeable improvements and innovations which show the ever forward motion of Amazon to never rest, to always improve and innovate.

Making “Return an Item” Even Easier

–          Context sensitive return options.  Depending upon the return reason selected, different return options are available.  For example, since I selected “item different than website description”, the “Replacement” option is not available.  If I select “broken or damaged box and item”, the “replacement option is available

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Context Sensitive Return Options

–          Drop off at Amazon Locker now an option.  How great is that?  Depending upon the return reason, there is a fee.  For this item, both UPS shipping and Amazon Locker Drop Off are $5.90.

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Amazon Lockers as a Return Option

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Select Amazon Locker Location

But I was shocked that there is not a locker in Bellevue, WA…  The nearest one is in downtown Seattle.

–          Email the print slip to a friend if you don’t have a printer available.  This isn’t a major item, but shows the attention to small refinements.  If you are at a friend’s house, or don’t have a printer available, the foresight to make it easy to send the shipping document to someone else to print is a nice touch.

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Sent To Friend to Print

–          Credit refunded as soon as received by UPS.  The final improvement –  instead of issuing the credit when the item was received at the returns center, as soon as the item was registered by UPS, Amazon issued me the credit.  I dropped it at UPS on a Saturday, and had the credit that same day.  I’m guessing they only do this for some customer segments, but it just shows how Amazon gives customers the benefit of the doubt whenever possible.

So although big press items like Amazon Fire TV gets the headlines, the continued refinement of key processes and customer experiences on a continuous basis is another aspect of the genius of Amazon.