Posted by Alex Jackson on 27th Oct 2017
In case you missed it Amazon made an announcement this week about a new home delivery service called Amazon Key. Basically it’s a camera with a smart lock; the carrier scans the package, once authorized the door unlocks and the camera records as the carrier places the package inside the door. Once completed, the carrier swipes a second time to lock your door again. So what do you think? Cool or creepy?
I can see it catching on but I think there are a lot of concerns that consumers will have to overcome. While it eliminates that risk of theft or the item not received claims, it does create some privacy concerns not to mention any curious pets that may try and make a run for it when Amazon shows up. Amazon has rolled out some far less intrusive options that consumers have found far easier to embrace, it’s a lower tech approach with Amazon’s high tech spin, yes it’s the good old locker. This locker is a bit different than the one you may have used in high school no stinky gym shorts for starters and no low tech lock. These lockers look like a big ATM machine and they are popping up everywhere. What these offer is quicker turnaround time, security and convenience, remember it’s that last mile of the delivery that costs amazon the most to get that package to the consumer, if the consumer is willing and able to meet amazon halfway well that’s savings in Amazon’s pocket the investment in a locker seems like a deal compared to paying a carrier like USPS, FedEx or UPS over and over again. These lockers are being put up in high traffic areas like shopping centers, convenience stores and grocery stores and of course Amazon’s own grocery chain Whole Foods. Major metropolitan areas are getting standalone pickup stores, Chicago now has three locations where you can pick up as well as return unwanted purchases.
Now were this gets very interesting is whether Amazon will ever allow other retailers to use these facilities. Would Amazon allow you to pick up that new ipad you just purchased from Best Buy? This is a thorny question for any retailer that directly competes with Amazon, sure you want to make it easier to get your goods to your customer but do you trust Amazon not to poach that customer down the road? On the flip side Amazon may make some additional revenue by offering this service to other retailers but does it dilute their own brand? What is very apparent is that Amazon continues to find a better way to get you that smiley box both faster and cheaper a big win for marketplace sellers who will benefit from Amazon’s ingenuity.