Amazon @ UMass to provide convenient ordering and pick-up experience

By Shelby Ashline

The Amazon @ UMass pick-up location in the Campus Center.  (Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian)
The Amazon @ UMass pick-up location in the Campus Center.
(Shannon Broderick/Daily Collegian)

Amazon anticipates that its new partnership with the University of Massachusetts will provide students with the convenience and affordability of Amazon that they enjoy at home, but with an experience customized to satisfy student needs.

According to the Director of Amazon Student Programs Ripley MacDonald, using Amazon @ UMass, which is the new official bookstore of UMass, is very similar to using the main Amazon website that students and customers are accustomed to.

“It’s basically the same site you use to shop every day,” MacDonald said. “It’s just personalized for students at UMass.”

As part of the collaboration, UMass students are eligible for free one-day shipping on textbooks when shipping to campus or to the surrounding ZIP codes. Eligible ZIP codes are 01002, 01003, 01035, 01060, 01373 and 01375, according to a UMass news release.

If students choose to ship their textbooks to campus, they also have the option of picking up orders at Amazon’s Campus Center location. The pick-up location is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.

In addition to textbooks, about two million items are available for next day shipping to Amazon Student and Prime members.

According to MacDonald, the process of ordering is very straightforward. Students can access directly or through links found on the textbook summary in SPIRE.

Once there, students can click on a button to activate their benefits. Every textbook that is used at UMass features a Prime Campus logo on its Amazon page, making it easy for students to see which books they need.

When it comes time to check out, students have the option to ship to Amazon @ UMass, the Campus Center location. If the order is completed before 10 p.m. it qualifies for free one-day shipping and the textbooks will be available to pick up the following day.

MacDonald explained that such quick shipping is possible because of an Amazon location in New Jersey, where the textbooks are stored.

“There’s a (delivery) truck that leaves from that facility every single day,” MacDonald said. The textbooks are packed very early in the morning and then driven up to Massachusetts, a trip that takes roughly five hours.

Once the package arrives at the Campus Center location, the student will receive an email confirming its delivery. When the student is ready to pick up the package, he or she can click on a “Pick Up Now” button embedded in the email and a bar code is generated.

Almost immediately, the package is moved to one of the pick-up lockers, which are built into the wall in the Campus Center store. The email with the bar code will also state which locker the package was moved to.

Students then have roughly 15 minutes to get to the Campus Center location and scan the bar code on his or her Smartphone using the scanner that corresponds to the package’s locker. There are six such scanners in the store.

Once the barcode registers, the locker door pops opens and the package is there. Students can also go to a sales associate for assistance if they prefer.

Because of the simplicity of the process, MacDonald expected that the transition to the new system would go smoothly.

“The pickup experience is quite quick,” he said. “Once you’ve done it once, it goes quite smoothly. So I expect things will go quite well … when everyone goes back to class.”

“At any outlet on campus, there would be long lines,” UMass spokesperson Edward Blaguszewski said. “With the news system, you’re able to go through the online ordering and pick the books up right away at the Amazon store.”

He added that video tutorials of the process featuring Sam the Minuteman would be shared via the Twitter account @Sam_Minuteman throughout the beginning of the semester.

Shelby Ashline can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @shelby_ashline.