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Amazon-owned said last week that its online customers now will be able to return products ordered from its site at Amazon-owned Whole Foods stores around the country, taking advantage of an infrastructure already being used for Amazon returns.

According to the company, shoppers wanting to return Zappos purchases now will be able to access what is being called "Label Free Box Free Returns."  They can go to their Zappos account, and if the purchase qualifies, they can arrange to drop the item off at a local Whole Foods - the original shipping packaging is not necessary, though if the purchase was shoes, the original show box is required.

KC's View:

On the one hand, it makes absolute sense for Zappos to take advantage of an existing infrastructure to make returns even easier than they have been in the past.  But for Zappos to link itself in any visible way to Amazon is a departure for the company - it has always seemed to operate autonomously, and the distance has seemed to work for it.

But maybe under new leadership, after the passing of founder Tony Hsieh, the decision has been reached to strengthen connections.  I just hope it doesn't get to the point where Amazon starts imposing demands on Zappos that don't serve its brand equity.