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An Amazon ‘pick-up’ store may be coming to a college near you

October 7, 2015, 6:45 PM UTC
Amazon is launching Prime Day, a global shopping event for Prime members.
Photograph by Daniel Acker—Bloomberg via Getty Images

E-commerce giant Amazon plans to open more customer service outlets near college campuses so students can pick up their orders, according to several job listings on the company’s website.

Students at University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Cincinnati will soon be able to visit physical Amazon stores on or near campus to get their packages. Amazon already has similar outlets at University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Purdue University.

The program, Campus Pick-up Point, premiered in February as a convenience for students who live in dorms or apartments, where receiving packages can be difficult. It also increases Amazon’s visibility among an important demographic that often shops online for textbooks and their necessities.

Students at colleges can choose to have orders delivered to a nearby Amazon center in one of two ways. They can either go the counter to pick up their package or retrieve it from a self-service locker that can be opened using a security code.

Students who are Amazon Prime or Amazon Student Prime subscribers get the extra benefit of faster delivery for certain items when placing orders through Amazon’s store. Some items are available for free pickup within a day at their school’s pick-up point rather than the usual two-day delivery.

Jobs at the new pick-up points in Berkeley, Santa Barbara, and Cincinnati, start mid-October through mid-November, according to Amazon’s job postings, indicating that the doors will likely open shortly thereafter. Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.

The new universities are not necessarily partnering with Amazon on the pick up outlets, signaling that at least some of them will be off campus. A spokesperson from UC Santa Barbara, for example, said that the university is not associated with any Amazon store and declined further comment.

A number of universities already have let Amazon install lockers on campus where students can pick up deliveries.

The expansion of the pick-up point program is part of a broader push by Amazon (AMZN) into the college market. In addition to the pick-up program, the company has partnered with a handful of universities to open co-branded bookstore websites for selling textbooks. Schools get a cut on all sales through the co-branded website of 0.5% to 2.5%, which could translate into millions of dollars, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

The University of California at Davis and Purdue University are part of that co-branded online bookstore program and this includes Amazon opening customer service counters at the universities (the one at Davis isn’t expected to open until next year). The University of Massachusetts at Amherst went a step further by also handing over operations of its physical bookstore to Amazon.

Amazon’s opportunity with university bookstores could be huge. Last year, Barnes & Noble college sales division reported $1.75 billion in revenue. Students who are already ordering books, school supplies or even food from Amazon online, the incentive to have a dedicated, branded place to pick them up, and avoid lines at university package centers could attract more Prime subscribers.

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