Amazon Instant Pickup service targets students

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Amazon has launched a trial of a new service that will allow students to instantly purchase a select choice of ‘essentials’ using an app and allow them to collect the goods within two minutes. The product range will number in the hundreds and include things like phone chargers and fizzy drinks.

Rather like in shopping at UK chain Argos, you can place your order on the app and staff behind the scenes pick and place the goods in collection lockers within two minutes. Customers receive bar codes to access the locker and get their purchases.

As it stands, the trial is operating at selected student areas in Los Angeles, Berkeley, Atlanta and Maryland. Amazon already has 22 staffed pickup locations in the USA in proximity to students.

Ripley MacDonald is Amazon’s director of student programs and said: “I want to buy a can of coke because I’m thirsty. There’s no chance I’m going to order that on Amazon.com and wait however long it’s going to take for that to ship to me. I can provide that kind of service here.”

This is another move on Amazon’s part to further embrace offline trading with bricks and mortar outlets targeting different types of shoppers. Don’t forget that Amazon recently bought US high end grocery chain Whole Foods and has now also opened bookshops in Seattle and NYC.

Amazon loves to experiment with various formats and approaches and at heart is logistics and fulfilment firm. So where they can utilise their networks, it’s not hard to see why they are willing to try new ideas like Instant Pickup. But there are also plenty of convenience food outlets out there which can easily compete with such an offering.

Location is key, so is product selection but consider also opening hours. And it’s not clear whether you can bag a new crater from Amazon Instant Pickup at 2am.

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