Amazon has opened the first of its university campus product-pickup points to sport a device-testing area that allows people to try out Amazon’s latest gadgets.
Open each day from 9 a.m.-9 p.m., the 3,500-square-foot space, called Amazon@ASUC Student Union, is a fully staffed room located in the Martin Luther King Jr. building at the UC Berkeley campus.
Though Amazon’s roots are embedded entirely in the online realm, the company has increasingly sought to infiltrate the brick-and-mortar world by creating physical pickup points for people who order things online, but who may not be at home to take collection.
Amazon launched its first-ever staffed campus pickup location last February at Purdue University, and Berkeley represents its fifth campus with staffed pickup points. But it seems the Internet giant is now looking to gain further mindshare among the student population by using these venues to cross-sell everything from Kindles and Fire tablets to Fire TV dongles and set-top boxes.
Given that enrollment at UC Berkeley hovers around the 40,000 mark, this could prove a useful way for the company to lock students into the Amazon ecosystem. Amazon Student and Amazon Prime members who receive free same-day pickup on more than two million items ordered through Amazon.com can take advantage of this convenience (non-members can also use the pickup service), and when they turn up to collect the goods, could be enticed to check out the latest ereader from Amazon or other fun gadgets.
Elsewhere in the online-meets-offline world, Amazon also recently launched its first-ever physical bookstore, in a bizarre twist to the company’s ever-evolving story that has seen it contribute to the closure of a number of big-name bookstores over the years.
Amazon said it plans to launch two more similar experience-oriented pickup centers in 2016, one at UC Davis and the other at the University of Pennsylvania.