Amazon has opened a new pickup kiosk, the first in the city of Boston, where selected customers can access free same-day pickup and return services.
Let’s get something straight from the very beginning. The new physical Amazon location is not a proper Amazon store – no books or Kindle devices on display here. Instead, the place is a pickup area where Prime members can get their stuff delivered much faster than the usual two days. The deal is that if you order your items online before noon, you can come and get them at the kiosk – at 870 Commonwealth Avenue – by the end of the day.
The fact that the store is located in front of Boston University’s College of Fine Arts and right beside a Target store is not, of course, a coincidence. While any Amazon Prime member can get packages shipped here, the kiosk is technically part of the Amazon’s campus pickup lockers network, which specifically targets college students.
Amazon started offering students a free one-year subscription to Prime in 2010. Today, students get a six-month trial ending with a discounted subscription ($49 vs the regular $99). Adding a pickup location near campus is part of Amazon’s strategy to get more students on board and get them hooked before traditional retailers like Target.
To get same-day delivery, there are two important things to remember. First, you need to add “Amazon@Boston” as your shipping address to your Amazon account and select it at checkout. Second, not all items included with Prime are available for the same day-delivery at the kiosk.
After placing your order, you’ll receive a barcode that you can easily bring with you at the kiosk through the Amazon app. By scanning your barcode, a locker will automatically open and you’ll find your package there. Inside the kiosk, there’s also a recycling station where customers who just got their packages can leave the cardboard boxes.
The kiosk offers another service that may be appealing to customers, which is free returns. Usually, Amazon customers have to pay postal fees to return their items to the company. If they take their things at the new place on Commonwealth Avenue, they can simply leave them there. Without paying any fee, their orders will be returned to Amazon.
The kiosk is not the first of its kind in Massachusetts. The University of Massachusetts at Amherst was among the first campuses to have a kiosk when Amazon started rolling out the service last year.
Opening hours of the kiosk on Commonwealth Avenue are Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday from noon to 9 p.m.
More information is available here.