Ever Wish You Could Walk into an Amazon Store?
It’s quite possible that, like Clark Kent changes into Superman, your corner Radioshack might morph into an Amazon store. That’s right: Amazon could be a real live store just down the road from you.
What’s more, if you’re a Purdue student, you can already walk into one and pick up your textbooks for the coming semester. Students at UMass Amherst and the UC Davis will follow soon. To be clear, though, the “Amazon store” is really just a staffed distribution center with extra Amazon Lockers where orders can be picked up or returned. You can’t actually browse products and buy them. Amazon pays the school a percentage of its sales for the privilege of materializing on the campus real estate.
Barnes & Noble currently holds sway on most campuses, but Amazon is upping the ante by providing unlimited next-day delivery on campus to Amazon Student Prime members — which is even faster than the two-day guarantee for Amazon’s regular Prime customers. Even if you’re not a Student Prime member (which costs nearly half the price of regular Prime at $49/year), all textbook orders get one-day shipping.
Small bookstores around the country have feared this day might one day arrive: when Amazon finally arises from the online netherworld and manifests in brick-and-mortar form — to eat all their babies. It’s possible that Radioshack might just grant Amazon’s wish. Radioshack is in a world of hurt financially and considering selling off half of its retail stores. Admittedly, Amazon would have to wrestle Sprint for the privilege of buying the Shack’s locations. However, I’d put my money on Amazon over Sprint any day, given the precarious situation most mobile networks find themselves in year in and year out.
Would these Radioshack locations become real stores or simply more distribution centers like the Purdue location?
I guess we’ll just have to wait to see if Superman comes out of that phone booth.