The latest in Amazon news – Amazon is leaving the nest and going to college.

Amazon made a deal with three universities nationwide to operate co-branded websites with each of the schools. University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of California Davis and Purdue University all recently unveiled these sites, as well as the ability to pick up, return and resell Amazon purchases in one of each university’s existing brick-and-mortar structures. Students will be able to buy just about anything you would typically find in a college bookstore – like textbooks, shirts, and mugs – as well as items you might find on Amazon.com if you’re a web browsing college student, like ramen noodles, extra sets of sheets and a Nerf gun to torment your dorm mates. Students can enjoy unlimited next-day delivery and pick-up on Amazon purchases.

This initiative, known as Amazon Campus, may be part of a move to claim some of the $10.3 billion that is spent annually in college bookstores, a market currently dominated by competitor Barnes and Noble. Amazon may also be attempting to expand its current roster of Prime members, which today includes an estimated 40 million people who each spend, on average, about $1,300 a year on Prime purchases. If Amazon is able to ingrain the ease and efficiency of the Prime experience within these students, who are often making purchases independent of their parents approval or knowledge for the first time, they can establish lifelong Prime members.

Amazon launches first-ever staffed campus pickup and drop-off location, Free One-Day Pickup services at Purdue | The Purdue Exponent

Amazon launches first-ever staffed campus pickup and drop-off location, Free One-Day Pickup services at Purdue | The Purdue Exponent

Amazon launches first-ever staffed campus pickup and drop-off location, Free One-Day Pickup services at Purdue | The Purdue Exponent

Mitch Daniels, President of Purdue University, believes this partnership with Amazon will drive down the cost of textbooks for students, as much as $150 to $200 annually. According to a statement in a recent press release, interim Vice Provost of undergraduate affairs Frank Dooley said that “the potential savings for students is about 30 percent a year on textbooks.” During marketing events to promote the new store aptly named Amazon@Purude, students were treated to free merchandise, including hyper popular fitbits.

Not everyone feels confident in the potential for savings. Megan Tarter, a senior at Purdue University, loves the concept of Amazon@Purdue, but questions the extent of its cost efficiency. “I think it’s really convenient because they hold your packages for you, but I don’t think it’s going to drastically reduce or change expenses for us,” Tarter shared with ecomdash. “You get free shipping on some products, but I don’t know anyone who orders from Amazon so much that their shipping costs are taking up a huge part of their budget.”

Amazon@Purdue will open in summer of 2015. The co-branded website portal for each partnered university is currently available.

Do you wish you had programs like this when you were in school? Do you think the competition between Amazon and more traditional textbook retailers will be good for students? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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