At the start of the academic year, Amazon, has laid siege to the college market as students reportedly saved over an average of $350 a year using the Amazon features.
Since introducing the Amazon Prime student account, many college students have found a greater interest in shopping on Amazon for their textbooks, clothes, food, and their daily needs.
Understanding that the college student most needs fast and simplified shopping, Amazon has found ways to create a much more convenient and easy environment for the typically busy college student. A convenience Amazon provides is a “Student Only” account, which enables students to browse products, purchase what they need, and pick it up at their college post office. Another important convenience is communication with the student. For when he or she purchases a product online, they will receive constant notifications telling the students when their product has been shipped, when it is ready to pick up, and what to do in case they need to return the product. Amazon not only provides a great way to create a strong relationship with the customer, but it also signals to buyers that the company cares about the individual’s purchase.
Exercising these benefits, Amazon also draws in these college students with their prominent Prime for their Student account – which provides the customer with free two-day shipping for a whole 6 months and then $49 per year afterward with no penalty of cancellation. Prime also administers many other appealing accessories. These accessories include Prime Video, which allows the student to watch as many offered free HD movies and TV shows.
This add-on especially interests college students like Joe Lukins, a sophomore philosophy major at Wheaton College, who remarks, “I really enjoy Prime Video, I get to watch as many TV shows and movies provided for free! See, college students don’t have money to buy movies and TV shows individually and so this $49 membership helps a lot.” Other accessories have attracted students, like Amazon music, which provides on-demand unlimited free music that is ad-free and no additional cost.
Reaching out to the college students directly, Amazon has envisioned establishing brick and mortar stores at college campuses. Ripley MacDonald, director of Amazon student programs points out, “College campuses are an opportunity for us, we hope students like it and continue being Amazon customers.”
In the last year, this dream became a reality when pacts were made with three universities: Purdue University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and the University of California Davis to represent Amazon’s opening salvo in a bid to capture some of the $10.3 billion spent annually in college bookstores.
In West Lafayette, Indiana, Amazon’s first-ever campus drop-off and pick up store opened its doors at Purdue University. With the implementation of the co-branded website, purdue.amazon.com, students can order anything online, select “Amazon@Purdue” as the shipping location and then pick it up in the store when it arrives, from either an Amazon employee at the desk or a self-serve locker. The store has endless amounts of supplies, and not just school supplies but electronics, apparel, furniture, food, toys, jewelry, all 100 percent attainable through the store. Due to the large amount of success at Purdue, in the next 5 years, Amazon may expand to placing a store on nearly every campus.
All college students are forced to buy textbooks, and this pressure into buying these books results in a majority of college students agreeing that the bookstore is not always the cheapest option. Amazon fortunately offers both new and used textbooks and at a lower price than many campus or nationwide bookstores.
According to the Government Accountability Office, the price of new textbooks has been rising about 6 percent each year. If more Amazon stores start popping up on campuses nationwide, competitors may be forced to lower their prices and these climbing costs could finally take a step-down. In addition, Amazon’s relatively lower prices could translate into annual savings on undergraduate course materials of $150 to $200. What couldn’t pull these college students into shopping at Amazon?
As Amazon develops more ways to improve the Prime Student account benefits, create more access on campus or overall decrease prices of their products, there is a larger chance that many more college students will sign up for Prime Student membership 6-month trial, leading to possible dependence in renewing their membership for years to come.
If Amazon hooks the students in college, the company may gain a lifelong customer.