Consumers are used to ordering goods online and then having packages waiting on the doorstep when they get home. It’s convenient, but sometimes it’s messy when packages are exposed to rain or snow, or when the neighbor dog plays hide-and-seek with the package, or if someone targets the house for a convenient theft while we’re at work. Sure, we can ask the neighbor to keep an eye out, but what if the neighbor isn’t home, or misses the action? While the costs of package theft has not been measured, one can assume the expense of stolen packages adds up for the shippers – and for the buyers.
Ecommerce companies have been working on solutions. Jet.com (owned by Walmart) is using a smart lock made by Latch to provide one-time home entry by using a code. And now Amazon has gotten into the game with Amazon Key – a $250 service that includes a smart camera made by Amazon coupled with a smart door lock made by Yale or Kwikset.
When the delivery arrives, the lock verifies that the driver is at the correct address and at the correct time. Amazon Key then starts recording video, unlocks the door, and records the entire delivery. It can even grant access to the home to other services such as Merry Maids (housecleaning) and Rover.com (dog walking).
Amazon key is currently available in 37 cities and is open to Prime members (who already pay $99/year for fast shipping and other services).
What will you have delivered?
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Discuss some of the problems that consumers have with delivery of packages.
- Show links and videos of Amazon Key:
- Also show Latch’s solution:
- How does this service benefit consumers?
- Poll students: Would they use this service for deliveries? Why or why not?
- How should these services be marketed? Who is the ideal customer?
Source: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, other news sources