Amazon and Purdue raised some eyebrows in February with the opening of Amazon’s first-ever retail store, located on the university campus. The store is a pick-up and drop-off location for Amazon Student and Prime members, offering free one-day pickup for textbooks, school supplies and anything else offered by Amazon.
When Purdue announced the move on its Facebook page, it met with overwhelming support.
In a press release on the subject, Purdue touts savings of 30% on textbooks as the primary reason for the collaboration. Purdue President Mitch Daniels comments:
“This relationship is another step in Purdue’s efforts to make a college education more affordable for our students. With the pressure on college campuses to reduce costs, this new way of doing business has the potential to change the book-buying landscape for students and their families.”
Students, like Zach Jordan, are enjoying the cost savings:
“It's made my experience a lot cheaper. It's made the financial burden significantly less expensive. Last semester, I spent well over $400 on books and this semester I didn't spend more than $40 on one book. My total was around $150… It was amazing."
How the Amazon Retail Store Appeals to the Millennial Market
While savings of 30% or more on textbook sales is the promoted benefit, there are other aspects of this venture that appeal especially to Millennials. With its endless stock and selection, Amazon is already a favorite with Millennials. Here are some additional ways Amazon is targeting this group with its retail store:
- Convenience of a secure centralized location for deliveries. Millennials enjoy a spontaneous schedule that can make it difficult to be around to carry in their packages.
- Hours that work with Millennials’ schedules. With secure lockers and extended opening hours, Millennials can pick up their packages almost whenever they want.
- Fast, one-day pickup of shipments. Millennials are not known for their patience. If two-day Prime shipping isn’t fast enough, they can pick up their shipments the next day at the store.
- Gives Millennials more textbook choices. Millennials insist on choice, and Amazon gives them many options—print or digital, new or used, rent or buy.
Amazon has plans to improve service to Millennial students, based on their buying habits. Amazon’s Vice President of Media and Student Programs, Paul Ryder, details:
"We know there's millions of things available just in our Indiana warehouses, let alone warehouses all across the country… Once we see what students are buying, we can start to make sure we have all the right things they're most interested in at the Indiana warehouses, so they're here super fast."
As the Purdue experiment seems to be successful, Amazon is pursing the retail model at two more schools in the near future, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and University of California-Davis. It will be interesting to watch the results as Amazon expands this retail strategy with Millennial students.