Amazon Can Now Deliver Packages Directly to Your Car's Trunk
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With its Amazon Key service, the ecommerce giant can already unlock the front door of Prime members' homes to deliver their packages. Now, Amazon wants access to their cars as well.
Understandably, some customers were more than a little concerned about letting Amazon couriers step inside their homes when the retailer debuted its In-home Delivery service last year. Others, however, saw its value and were pleased to get their purchases safely inside away from porch pirates. But now, with the launch of In-Car Delivery - which enables the retailer to deliver packages directly to the trunk of a customer's car - Amazon may have just created a solution that works for everyone.
The new service is available at no extra charge to Amazon Prime members who are also owners of 2015 or newer Volvo or General Motor (GM) vehicles, including Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac brands.
Rather than using smart locks and a cloud-connected camera to gain entry - as is the case with Amazon Key In-home Delivery - Amazon uses the connected technologies already embedded within many modern vehicles today. As such, in order to use the In-Car Delivery service, the cars require GM's OnStar or Volvo's On Call connectivity services for Amazon Key to work.
(Video source: youtube.com)
From a customer's perspective, it's all very simple. No additional hardware is required. Users link their connected car to their Amazon account via the Amazon Key app, and deliveries can then be made to cars parked in publicly accessible areas, such as the customer's home or place of work.
Amazon's couriers are able to unlock the car's trunk, place the customer's package(s) inside, close and lock it again, all without needing a key. Users are notified through the Amazon Key app when their package is on-route for delivery, when it's been placed inside their car's trunk, and can track exactly when their car was opened or closed.
(Image source: amazon.com)
Rohit Shrivastava, Amazon Key's General Manager, said that Amazon cannot track the location of the customer's car. Instead, the user gives Amazon an address where the car will be parked along with the make, model, color, and license plate number so the delivery person can find the right car. "Everything is securely encrypted between the two services," said Shrivastava.
A Delivery Locker on Wheels
In-Car Delivery is currently available in 37 US cities. Customers were pleased with the new service during the six-month beta testing in California and Washington state prior to the rollout. In a video by Amazon, one customer said that she used it to hide birthday present deliveries from her daughter. Another said that having packages delivered to her car meant that her young children could enjoy their nap without being woken up by the doorbell.
"We were really happy with the response to in-home delivery," said Amazon's Vice President of Delivery Technology, Peter Larsen. "What we wanted to do - and it was part of the plan all along - is take that beyond the home."
(Video source: youtube.com)
Amazon says tens of millions of items are eligible for In-Car Delivery, as long as they weigh under 50 pounds, fit within size specification, cost less than $1,300, don't require a signature upon delivery, and do not come from a third-party seller.
If a customer wants to change their delivery location or block access to their car, they can do so from the Amazon Key app. Amazon will then either reschedule or send the parcel to the customer's backup delivery location.
"Customers have told us they love features like keyless guest access and being able to monitor their front door from anywhere with the Amazon Key App," said Larsen. "In-Car delivery gives customers that same peace of mind and allows them to take the Amazon experience with them. And, with no additional hardware or devices required, customers can start ordering In-Car Delivery today."
Amazon's straight-to-trunk service will undoubtedly be a hit with many Amazon Prime members. Modern cars are largely secure places - much better than an unprotected porch - and the convenience of having a delivery locker on wheels is something that will likely deepen a consumer's relationship with Amazon. Office workers ordering items can skip the fuss and bother of packages going through the mailroom and have them waiting in their car outside instead. When traveling, a customer could receive a new coat, a pair of sneakers, a camera, or anything else they forgot to bring with them straight to their car in the hotel parking lot. This really is a forward-thinking delivery option that a lot of customers could find a use for.
Amazon has signed a two-year contract with GM and Volvo, according to The Verge. All three companies have agreed to use the two years as a trial period and do not hope to make any additional money from the service. Instead, they view In-Car Delivery as an added convenience they can all market to their customers.
"Simplifying the customer experience is central to Volvo's digital vision," said Volvo's Chief Digital Officer, Atlif Rafiq. "Receiving a package securely and reliably in your car, without you having to be there, is something we think many people will appreciate. This intersection between transportation and commerce could very well be the next wave of innovation, and we intend to be at the forefront."
Last mile delivery innovations are set to be a hot topic at eTail West 2019, taking place next February at the JW Marriott, Palm Springs, CA.
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