Amazon, UC Davis pilot online university storefront

By From page A6 | February 09, 2014

UC Davis and Amazon are piloting a first-of-its kind online program that complements UCD’s retail operations and supports student programs, services and a new scholarship.

When Amazon Student members shop at amazon.com or any other customers start their shopping on the UCD storefront, davis.amazon.com, UCD will receive a little more than 2 percent of most purchases (net of returns). The program launched last fall.

Plans call for at least $40,000 of the proceeds to fund the development of a textbook scholarship in collaboration with We Are Aggie Pride, a student-led group that raises money to provide emergency funding for students in need. Additional revenue will help support student programs and services.

UC Davis Stores, an independent, nonprofit bookstore, has a long tradition of innovation in service to the students and the campus community. Jason Lorgan, director of UC Davis Stores, said Amazon approached the stores to pilot this program because it is among the top-earning university bookstores in the Amazon Associates program.

“The collaboration is a win-win for the university and its students,” Lorgan said. “The site complements the existing UC Davis retail operations and provides additional items that we’re unable to provide. We expect it will generate significant revenue for the university and do not believe it will harm our in-store sales.”

The easiest way for students to participate is by signing up for a free six-month trial membership of Amazon Student at amazon.com/joinstudent. The membership provides free two-day shipping on millions of items, and then when students join Amazon Prime for $39 a year (50 percent off Amazon Prime’s standard rate), they receive free access to hundreds of thousands of e-books in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, unlimited streaming of 41,000 movies and television episodes, and exclusive deals and offers for students.

The pilot project for davis.amazon.com is an extension of a longer relationship with Amazon, which has been among the retailers participating in the online price comparison program that UC Davis Stores offers.

UCD was the first to offer online price comparisons among about a dozen textbook retailers, as well as convenient online purchases at those retailers. More than 350 universities now offer a similar service. UCD also has one of the largest textbook rental programs in the nation.

The mission of UC Davis Stores — which operates eight locations on campus, in downtown Davis and near the university’s Sacramento campus — is to provide the tools of education at the lowest possible cost and to point students to other retailers as an option so they can choose the lowest price.

UC Davis Stores helps fund the operation of the Memorial Union and its student programs and services. Last fiscal year, UC Davis Stores had $22.1 million in sales and made a net contribution of $1.23 million, an increase of 75 percent from the prior year.

Lorgan said the UC Davis Stores advisory council, which includes student members, is helping to monitor the project’s progress.

— UC Davis News


Julia Ann Easley

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