Amazon already has a quick, direct line to the front doors of its Prime customers. Now the company wants to enter those front doors, as well.
Today Amazon announced Amazon Key, a new service for Prime members that allows couriers to unlock a customer’s front door and place packages inside. The service requires the Amazon Key In-Home Kit, a $250 bundle that includes a specific Amazon Cloud Cam indoor security camera and a compatible smart lock from Kwikset or Yale. (Amazon’s newly announced Alexa-enabled Cloud Cam will sell for $120 on its own, or in a two-pack or three-pack for $200 or $290, respectively.)
How It Works
Amazon says packages will be placed “just inside your front door.” Here’s how: first, customers will receive a notification on the morning of delivery day, with a four-hour delivery window. When a courier arrives, Amazon will authorize the delivery, turn on its Cloud Cam, and unlock your door. A courier will place the packages inside your door. Customers will receive one notification when the delivery is taking place, and again when the package has been delivered. Amazon Key customers will also have the option to watch the delivery live, or to view a video clip of the delivery later.
In Amazon Key’s FAQ, the company does not recommend the service for customers whose pets can reach the front door. Also, Amazon Key is not integrated with security systems. The FAQ notes, “On the day of delivery, you will need to disarm your home security alarm. We do not recommend using in-home delivery if you are not comfortable disarming your security system on delivery day.”
Amazon Key doesn’t just have to end with deliveries from the company, however, as Amazon’s plans go beyond that. The company envisions “thousands of providers” using the service to get inside your house. Cleaning service Merry Maids and Rover.com’s pet sitters and dog walkers are two examples given by Amazon.
Amazon Key will be available starting November 8 in 37 U.S. cities and surrounding areas, with more locations “rolling out over time.”
The Future Of In-Home Delivery
Amazon isn’t the only mega company that’s pursuing in-home delivery. Wal-Mart recently announced it is testing a service that allows delivery drivers to enter your home to deliver packages, and even stock your refrigerator with groceries. Wal-Mart is testing the service with August Home customers, so a smart lock system is involved there, as well.
If these tests prove successful, in-home delivery could become a hot trend, especially as home security cameras and smart locks become more prevalent. Package deliveries should be more secure with a service like Amazon Key, but is that enough to entice customers? As in many cases, customers must weigh factors of convenience against cost…while also understanding that a stranger will be entering your home while you’re away.