The online retail giant Amazon has launched their first staffed physical store at Purdue University Campus. This will be company’s first staffed customer order pickup and drop-off location. Purdue students now have a new convenient option for receiving textbooks and other college essentials, all with the same great prices they find everyday on Amazon, as well as a hassle-free way to return textbook rentals and other orders. Additionally, Amazon Student and Amazon Prime members at Purdue get Free One-Day Shipping on textbooks shipped to the West Lafayette campus area and are also eligible for Free One-Day Pickup on over one million items when shipped to the new Amazon@Purdue location.

Amazon @ Purdue

“We’re excited to open our first-ever staffed pickup location at Purdue, making it more convenient and affordable for students to get everything they need for life on campus. Whether students are ordering textbooks, laptops, or mac and cheese, Amazon and Purdue are now providing a convenient and secure spot for them to pick up their stuff at hours that work with their schedules. We look forward to bringing this experience to more universities soon.” - said Paul Ryder, Vice President of Media and Student Programs at Amazon.

In addition to Purdue University, Amazon has similar arrangements with the University of California, Davis and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

About Amazon Student

Amazon Student gives college students Free Two-Day Shipping on millions of items, and special offers and promotions created just for students as part of the six month free trial. After that it’s just $49 a year—half the price of a regular Amazon Prime membership—and includes unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Instant Video, over a million songs with Prime Music, and access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

Here’s how Amazon@Purdue works:

  1. Students, alumni, faculty and staff at Purdue can activate their benefits by visiting—or joining Amazon Student—to personalize their Amazon shopping experience.
  2. Once activated, students will be able to easily identify books needed for class by looking for a ‘badge’ with Purdue’s logo and class information within Amazon search results and product pages. Student can also purchase any item available on Amazon, and items eligible for Free One-Day Pickup are marked with a “Prime Campus” badge.
  3. When purchasing items on Amazon, students will choose Amazon@Purdue as their shipping address at checkout.
  4. When their order arrives, they’ll receive an email or text notification.
  5. When they’re ready to pick up their order, the student will click on the link provided in the email or text. This link will generate a barcode.
  6. After arriving at Amazon@Purdue the student will scan the barcode and pick up their order at one of the self-service lockers or go to the pickup desk and an associate can assist them.

[Source: Amazon Press Release

Amazon physical store is aimed at three things: Convenience, Affordability and Accessibility. 

Amazon sold a record-setting more than 2 billion items worldwide in 2014. There are currently more than 2 million sellers on Amazon worldwide that account for over 40 percent of the total units sold on Amazon.

This move from online to physical shows that customers still want to have a touch and feel of the product that they purchase. There are new rumors that Amazon is trying to buy Radioshack’s stores, who filed for bankruptcy last week. According to Bloomberg view, Amazon wants to sell their hardware’s through these stores as well as convert it to a pickup and drop store for their online goods. By acquiring Radioshack’s stores, Amazon is moving ahead with this plan. In the coming weeks, you can see more physical stores from Amazon. The university student stores are convenient, affordable and accessible for the students. These students could become their loyal customers in the future as well there by increasing their website visits and purchases.

Amazon might be trying to sell their hardwares through these physical stores. The much talked Amazon smartphone Fire has not picked up the sales as they thought. Through these stores Amazon could showcase Kindles, Phones and other products of Amazon thereby giving more visibility to their products.

Earlier Amazon has done pilot projects for pick up locations like partnering with local kirana stores and India Post. The customers can visit the kirana stores and get the products that they ordered online. India post will give the much-needed reach for Amazon in India. So rather than partnering with these kirana stores, it makes sense to open their own stores in prime specified locations. This will help them in distribution as well thereby reducing the delivery time of their products.

But I am not sure about how they are planning to tackle the operational costs linked to running these stores. Unless and until these stores produce enough sales, the cost will be a burden to their financial numbers. It’s interesting to see how their competitors reacts to this.

Let’s see how the click and collect format works for Amazon!

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