Amazon opened its first fully staffed physical location Tuesday — Amazon@Purdue — where students can order, rent, buy, pick up and drop off books and other items required for college. The company is also rumored to be in talks to buy some of RadioShack's stores to further bridge its digital business offline.
The store services at the Krach Leadership Center at Purdue University's West Lafayette, Indiana campus are open to students, alumni, faculty and staff at Purdue. Activating benefits gives students the ability to access online tools that help identify books needed for classes.
A "badge" with Purdue's logo and class information within Amazon search results and product pages provides the identifier. Students also can purchase any item available on Amazon to have delivered. Most items are eligible for Free One-Day Pickup with a Prime Campus badge when using the Amazon@Purdue as their shipping address at checkout.
When orders arrive at the store, customers receive an email or text notification. The customer clicks on the link provided in the email or text to generate a barcode when they're ready to pick up the purchase.
Scanning the barcode at the Amazon@Purdue location lets them either pick up the merchandise at one of the self-service lockers or go to the pickup desk and an associate can assist them.
Amazon expects to bringing this experience to more universities soon, per Paul Ryder, vice president of media and student programs at Amazon.
A second location will open this spring in the Purdue Memorial Union building. Amazon has similar arrangements with the University of California, Davis and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Amazon is also considering acquiring some RadioShack stores after the company files for bankruptcy and if the company liquidates assets, rather than sells the brand.
If Amazon liquidated assets, the plan would mean using the locations as showcases and potential pickup and drop-off centers for online customers, per Bloomberg, citing sources. The report suggests Sprint and RadioShack have discussed co-branding the stores.