Amazon’s first bricks-and-mortar store opens in … Indiana
Amazon has opened its first physical store – not in downtown Manhattan but on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
The e-tailer calls it a “customer order pickup and drop-off location”, which will allow Purdue students to collect orders of textbooks as well as other goods, and make returns.
The “store” bears an uncanny resemblance to a room into which Amazon has put lockers where customers can collect orders using a code.
However, it will be staffed by Amazon employees who work at one of the company’s five facilities in Indiana. Customers will also have the option of asking a staff member to open a locker for them.
Paul Ryder, vice-president of media and student programmes at Amazon, said it planned to open more such centres at other universities.
Mitch Daniels, president of Purdue University, said the aim was to make books and other supplies more affordable for students. “The opening of the Amazon@Purdue location adds convenience to the mix,” he said.
The move appears to be a way of promoting Amazon Student, which gives university students the benefits of its Prime membership scheme, such as free shipping and video and music streaming for $49 (£32) a year – half the usual price.
A second location will open later this year on the Purdue campus.
Amazon is inviting other educational institutions to work with it and open similar centres on their campuses.
Reports late last year suggested that the company was set to open its first physical store on the ground floor of a building it has leased on 34th St, opposite the Empire State building in New York City, in time for the Christmas shopping rush. No store has yet materialised.