Amazon Instant Pickup Launches for College Students

Instant Pickup enables Prime and Prime Student members to order and receive snacks, drinks and electronics in under two minutes.

August 17, 2017

SEATTLE – Amazon announced this week Instant Pickup, a free service offering Prime and Prime Student members a selection of daily essentials available for pickup in two minutes at five of Amazon’s fully staffed pickup locations in Los Angeles; Atlanta; Berkeley, Calif.; Columbus, Ohio; and College Park, Md.

Items available with Instant Pickup include snacks, drinks, personal care items and electronics. Prime and Prime Student members can use the Amazon App to shop hundreds of items, including Amazon devices like the Echo, Echo Dot, Fire TV and a selection of Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers. Prime members can browse the selection, place an order, add last-minute items to an online order and pick it up from a self-service locker within two minutes.

“Instant Pickup is another way Amazon is making life more convenient for Prime members,” said Ripley MacDonald, director of student programs at Amazon. “As shopping behaviors continue to evolve, customers consistently tell us that they want items even faster. Whether it’s a snack on-the-go, replacing a lost phone charger in the middle of a hectic day or adding Alexa to your life with an Echo, Instant Pickup saves Prime members time. While Instant Pickup is available at select pickup locations today, we’re excited about bringing this experience to more customers soon.”

Instant Pickup will be available at more locations in the coming months. Amazon operates a total of 22 staffed pickup locations on or near college campuses across the country.

Luke Starbuck, vice president of marketing at Linc, told Retail Dive that no corner of the retail market is safe from Amazon’s new service. 

"[A] close look at the positioning of this new offering shows a bold move into a new shopping space for Amazon," Starbuck said. "Effectively, this new combination places convenience stores squarely in the crosshairs, although Amazon has a lot of ground to make up before they have the store distribution."

Tushar Patel, CMO of Kibo, told Retail Dive that Amazon’s Instant Pickup offering “will require tight control of inventory, which can be especially difficult for food items… Snacks and beverages are also items that tend to be more impulse purchases. It's unclear how much foresight consumers will have to get on their phones to order these items first, rather than walking into a store to select an item and walk to the checkout.”