Amazon opens package distribution stations on college campuses

Over the past year, Amazon Inc. has maintained a fairly regular presence in media headlines for the innovative changes it is implementing along its supply chain, from manufacturing delivery drones to leading the online retail industry.

On Thursday, the e-commerce giant announced that Amazon@ASUC Student Union had its grand opening as a pickup center on the University of Carolina, Berkley campus.

Multimedia center for package pickups and returns
At this location, which is 3,500 square feet in size, students will be able to not only retrieve items they order from, but return them as well. The source also revealed that this is the first Amazon pickup station that includes interactive technology for students to play music and games, read eBooks, watch movies and use other features offered by Kindle and Fire devices.

In addition to the physical package port, students and staff at the university will have access to a university-specific Amazon website, where members of Amazon Student and Amazon Prime can purchase products and have them shipped directly to the pickup center. If the order is placed before noon, the student will receive the item that very same day at no additional cost.

But, even if an item isn't purchased until the late afternoon, the buyer still won't have to wait very long until the product is delivered. The press release also revealed that members who order goods before 10 p.m. will be able to retrieve the shipment the very next day.

In 2015, Amazon installed this feature on a number of other campuses throughout the country, including University of Massachusetts, Purdue University, Isla Vista and Cincinnati, the source noted.

"This marks our fifth campus community to offer a staffed pickup location providing students with a convenient and affordable way to get everything they need for university life," Amazon Director of Student Programs Ripley MacDonald said in the statement. "We look forward to bringing this experience to even more students and campus communities soon."

Expansion of interactive stations on college campuses
The first Ivy League school to receive an Amazon pickup location will be the University of Pennsylvania, the online retailer also announced this week.

According to the announcement, Amazon@Penn will officially open in the spring and will include self-service and mobile technologies.

"The preference by today's students for online shopping has led to a significant increase in deliveries. When we looked closely at the shipping activity, we discovered that almost half of all packages delivered to Penn student mail rooms were from Amazon," University of Pennsylvania Vice President of Business Services Marie Witt explained.

Witt also added that this station will allow the university to offer its students the same service they have been using, only with improved security and easier access.

Not only will it be the first Ivy League-located facility, but it will also be the first package pickup center belonging to Amazon that also has designated areas for students to work on multimedia projects and study interactively, with pods that allow phones, tablets, TVs and laptops to be used.

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