Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Amazon Giving Bricks-and-Mortar a Try

Amazon’s first bricks-and-mortar location is aimed squarely at fostering customer loyalty with the millennial generation, according to a report in ZDNet. Amazon@Purdue at Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, provides the online retail giant with a way to conveniently reach the 18-34 demographic.

“The millennial generation of customers, which includes those in college right now, is going to be the most important generation of consumers our country has ever known,” said retail consultant Micah Solomon. “There are more of them than the baby boomers and they will soon control a dominant share of the purchasing power as well.”

The Purdue location is really more of a post office, with pickup lockers and a staffed counter where students can claim their orders. It’s also an expansion of the Amazon Student initiative that provides students with discounts and perks on textbooks and college essentials for a subscription fee.

While Amazon@Purdue allows the e-tailer a way to give bricks-and-mortar locations a try, some wonder how pickup locations will work off campus. After all, one of the reasons Amazon became an online retail powerhouse is because it has avoided the costs associated with physical locations.

“Amazon is the acknowledged king of online commerce, but there are many things about physical commerce that cannot be replicated online,” Solomon said.

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