Amazon, the online superstore that has been rivaled only by physical location superstores like Wal-Mart and Target, is opening its first college campus location. February 4 marked the grand opening of their Purdue University location. Amazon shoppers who use the purdue.amazon.com version can buy books, supplies, clothing, and really anything they would order from the regular Amazon portal. The on campus location is staffed by actual Amazon personnel hired by Amazon, not the university. Come spring, there will be free one day shipping to any Purdue students who order textbooks off of Amazon Student and agree to pick it up at the store. So how exactly does it work? It works much like a typical university package center. Students will choose Amazon Purdue as their shipping address and receive a text or email when their package arrives. The text or email will contain a barcode that they can scan at the store. An associate can bring them the package or they can pick it up at a self-service locker.
According to Purdue’s website, the vice president of programs at Amazon says this, “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 they 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.” Due to the success of the Amazon store in just these few short months, Purdue has announced that another on campus location should be available in the spring. Should retailers and campus book stores be worried? Most likely. The universities receive a portion of the profits, but Amazon could potentially put local retailers and university bookstores out of business. The better prices now combined with easy access and convenience make the Amazon university locations a pretty solid business idea.
In addition, there has been rumors from top executives that old Radio Shack stores will be bought by Amazon to continue with this physical location trend. They’ve already been incredibly successful in opening up “pop up” locations as mall kiosks that were set up in some major malls in San Francisco and Sacramento for the holidays.
Finally, there is some speculation by a number of sources that their first ever brick and mortar retail store will be located in New York City, just across the street from the Empire State Building. Amazon has the property on 17 year lease but has been subletting it since the papers were signed. There is a lot of confusion as to why plans to open a store are not underway as originally planned (many people believed it would be opened in time for Christmas). Some e-commerce and economic analysts believe that Amazon may still be in the planning stages as to what a physical location of an online store would look like. It could be a mini warehouse for pickup or delivery. It could be a retail store to display their products.
Amazon is in a transitioning stage as they alter their business model to reach new customers and different people. But it is definitely a company to keep our eyes on because Amazon is not going anywhere anytime soon.