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Tuesday, November 20 , 2018, 3:00 pm | Fair 69º


Amazon Gets Right to the Prime Pickup Point with New Local Shop in Isla Vista

Store near UC Santa Barbara — 1 of only 4 in the country — allows same-day shipping pickup, deals for students and locals

A new Amazon location has opened in the Loop in Isla Vista, allowing customers of the online retailer to pick up packages — sometimes even on the same day as the order.
A new Amazon location has opened in the Loop in Isla Vista, allowing customers of the online retailer to pick up packages — sometimes even on the same day as the order.  (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

A UC Santa Barbara freshman walked into the new Amazon shop in Isla Vista last week, showing employees his smart phone to ask about picking up his latest online order.

Staffers at [email protected] directed Doug Walker to one of four self-service lockers, where he quickly scanned a bar code and removed his small packages from a compartment in the wall.

He unwrapped his new headphones and sweater, thinking aloud of the danger his wallet might be in now that he can pick up orders from the online retailer on the same or next day after purchasing.

The convenience of a secure, one-stop shop is why Seattle-based Amazon.com opened its staffed location at 6533 Trigo Road, Suite C, in the Loop at Isla Vista — the fourth such location in the country.

Amazon opened three others this year, at UC Davis, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. It plans to add a location at UC Berkeley in early 2016, according to company spokeswoman Deborah Bass.

These are the popular retailer’s first physical customer locations, with the Isla Vista shop as the only one so far not based on a college campus, she said.

“We want to be part of the community,” store manager Anna Spisla told Noozhawk.

“For us, it’s a mixed clientele. Isla Vista is very unique. The location has been very helpful for us.”

[email protected] opened Nov. 11 with free giveaways and staff demonstrations of how to pick up some of the more than 1 million items that can be shipped to the location, which doesn’t have a ton of storage for larger packages, Spisla said.

UC Santa Barbara freshman Doug Walker picks up his latest Amazon orders from the new location near campus. Click to view larger
UC Santa Barbara freshman Doug Walker picks up his latest Amazon orders from the new location near campus.                      (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

She said Isla Vista is the only location to offer same-day pickup for Amazon Prime account holders, which are customers who typically pay $99 a year for free two-day shipping, unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows, and access to more than 1 million songs and e-books via Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.

The same works for Amazon Student members, who try out Amazon Prime free for six months and can pay a discounted $49 a year for Prime membership thereafter.

Anyone who places an order by noon can pick up before closing at 9 p.m. People ordering by 9 p.m. can pick up when the store opens seven days a week at 9 a.m.

“You don’t have to worry about waiting in line,” Spisla said.

She said anyone who doesn’t have a Prime account can still pay standard shipping and choose the Isla Vista location by visiting amazon.com/IslaVista and adding it as the shipping address.

Those who choose the pickup location will receive email or text notifications when their order is ready, which will include the barcode.

Amazon already has seen a mix of people who live or work near Isla Vista, Spisla said, noting the shop is also the only one with on-site kiosks to assist in returning and re-shipping items.

With the holiday gift-giving season ahead, she said, the store provides peace of mind for students and others who don’t want packages to be left outside their doors for hours. Amazon also hopes to hire some new part-time associates to assist in the rush.

Spisla said the immediate feedback from customers has been valuable, since Amazon hasn’t historically interacted much with customers face-to-face.

She’s looking forward to more of it.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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