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Amazon launches campus brick-and-mortar presence

Etailer Amazon.com is venturing offline again with its latest experiment in bricks-and-mortar retailing: a staffed customer order pickup and drop-off location for students at Purdue University. Called Amazon@Purdue, the site is located within the Krach Leadership Center at Purdue’s West Lafayette, Ind., campus. Students, alumni, faculty and staff at Purdue can buy textbooks and other items on a special page on Amazon’s website for delivery to the Amazon@Purdue location. They can also return rented textbooks there.

Amazon@Purdue, which some describe as more of a glorified post office than a retail store, is part of the Amazon Student program, which offers discounts and other perks to this important demographic. “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,” said Paul Ryder, vice president of media and student programs at Amazon. “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.” A second Purdue site is scheduled to open this spring. 

Amazon has similar arrangements with the University of California, Davis, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Amazon has yet to open a true brick-and-mortar store, but it did set tongues wagging late last year when it purchased a storefront in New York City from which to test same-day delivery services and package pickup for locals.