Package theft is particularly problematic around the holidays. But will that make consumers more open to delivery people entering their homes with Amazon Key?
Nearly 11 million U.S. homeowners had a delivered package stolen within the past year. This unfortunate side effect of the e-retail boom has many consumers searching for secure measures to keep their packages safe. Amazon, the company who is responsible for more e-retail than anyone else in this country, thinks they may have the solution in Amazon Key.
Every holiday season, e-commerce sales and package deliveries swell. With that comes an uptick in package theft.
To combat this issue many parcel services and e-retailers look to establish secure alternatives to traditional doorstep delivery. Some will let customers pick up products at a retail location. Others utilize lockers at central locations, such as gas stations and convenience stores. And for many e-commerce businesses and direct sellers, managed pick-up centers offer a secure-delivery alternative to consumers — and a number of benefits to sellers, as well.
For many consumers, this isn’t enough. They feel they have to take matters into their own hands. Security cameras, “video doorbells” that notify homeowners when someone is at the front step, and motion detectors have all become very popular for protective consumers, who have extra money to spend on security items.
These types of security solutions may scare off individuals who attempt to pilfer your parcels. But, many times, they just capture a blurry face on camera, as the crook makes off with your package.
Many would say that we’ve already let Amazon into our homes, as we ask Alexa to order us more home goods. But with this system, you literally let a live delivery person from Amazon into your residence to deliver your package.
Amazon Key is a $249 package that allows consumers to control and monitor deliveries remotely. A connected camera and door-lock security system allow Amazon couriers access to your home to leave packages inside. Amazon believes that this will be the future of e-retail delivery, as Peter Larson, vice president of delivery technology, stated: “We think this is going to be a fundamental way that customers shop with us for years to come.”
Whether a package is safer inside a home or on the front steps is indisputable. But the real question is: will individuals feel secure letting a total stranger inside their homes when no one is around? Amazon has attempted to address concerns (as best they can) with the system the Key utilizes.
When out for delivery, the courier scans the package’s label with a smartphone before requesting entry into the home. The Key system automatically unlocks the door — no code required — and triggers the security camera to turn on. Once the package has been dropped off inside, the courier uses the phone once again to lock the door. All while this is happening, the package recipient receives notifications and a time stamp of the delivery. They can even watch the delivery happen live, or a recording of it later if they wish.
Amazon knows last-mile challenges can make or break a customer’s experience. So it makes sense that the company would go the extra mile to ensure safe delivery in the interest of customer satisfaction. The timing of Amazon Key’s launch— just before the holidays — is no coincidence.
Will Amazon Key help reduce porch piracy this holiday season? For those who can afford it, probably yes. The 2017 holidays will be telling - both in terms of the system's viability and consumers' acceptance of this model.
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