When Amazon bought Whole Foods, two things happened. The first was that they made a wide variety of organic food affordable. The second was that they made the CEO, Jeff Bezos, wealthier than Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. Technically there is a third thing - they got closer to world domination.
That took quite some doing so we expected them to hold steady for a moment. They had other plans.Their latest announcement shows that they are still steadily pushing forward with their quest for world domination.
Starting this month, Amazon would like access to the inside of your home. With your permission of course. This desire to enter their customers home has been brought about by their customer's number one complaint - someone stole the package you delivered.
The device that Amazon will use to access your home is called the Amazon Key.
The Amazon Key service offers only Amazon Prime members located in certain cities the opportunity to upgrade from home delivery to in-home delivery at no added charge.
The key is not just for the use of Amazon deliveries. It can be used to give either one-time or continued access to family members, friends, and people who need access to your house like the cleaner, fish feeder or dog walker.
To take advantage of the in-home delivery option you will first need to sign up for Amazon Prime if you are not yet a member. Then, you will need to purchase the Amazon Key In-Home Kit.
The kit includes the following:
- Amazon Cloud Cam (Key Edition) indoor security cam.
- Compatible smart lock. The smart lock will either be a Kwikset or a Yale lock.
The kit is currently retailing for $249.99. You can install the items in the kit on your own or you may take advantage of the free professional installation offer.
How The Amazon Key Service Works
Products will continue to be purchased on Amazon in the exact same way. The only change you will encounter is at the end of your purchase when you are selecting the delivery option. If you wish to use in-home delivery you will select FREE in-home delivery" at checkout.
The morning of your scheduled delivery date, you will receive an alert from Amazon reminding you of your in-home delivery. A 4-hour delivery window will be indicated. A second "arriving now" alert will be sent just before the delivery is scheduled to arrive at the address you have indicated.
Once the driver arrives at your home, they will knock first just in case you are home. If you are home, the standard Amazon delivery process will be used.
If you are not home, the driver will request access to your home via their Amazon handheld scanner.
Amazon will verify the identity of the driver through an internal authentication process. They will also confirm that the package is for the indicated address and that the driver is standing at the door.
Upon positive confirmation, they will turn on the Cloud Cam to begin recording the delivery. Customers can choose to watch the delivery live or a recorded version. They also have until the door is unlocked to deny access through a "Block Access" feature.
Then they will grant access to the driver to open the door. It should be noted that the drivers will never be given access to the door access code.
The driver will then place the package or packages just inside the front door and then lock the door. You will receive an alert that the delivery is complete.
Things To Note
Amazon is not hiring a new crop of only in-home delivery couriers. Amazon Prime customers who opt for in-home deliveries will have their deliveries done by Amazon Logistics only. Not UPS, Fedex, or the US Postal Service. Amazon Logistics drivers are outsourced to local city delivery providers whose drivers are subject to thorough vetting and background checks. This is in contrast to Amazon Flex drivers who are individuals who deliver during their free time and are subject to less strict vetting procedures.
The Amazon Key system is not designed to be compatible with home security systems so the customer will need to either deactivate their home security system prior to deliver or opt for home delivery instead of in-home delivery.
Amazon does not wish to have any missing pets on their conscience so they are not recommending in-home delivery if your pets can access the front door as the delivery is happening. What is implied and not said outright is that they also wish to keep their delivery team safe from pets you say are friendly but in reality are anything but.
Find out more here.
Checking on the Competition
The Amazon Key in-home delivery option is not available in all US cities. That appears not to have been an oversight on their part. According to the CEO of Spend Management Experts, an Atlanta-based supply chain management consulting firm, John Haber, they chose dense, high-volume and profitable urban areas.
Those areas have been served by delivery companies such as UPS and FedEx and let's not forget the US Postal Service. These companies are therefore undoubtedly going to feel the squeeze.
All is not lost though as these companies all need each other to cover areas where they have customers who do not justify expansion of services but are still in need of their products.
Amazon is betting this will be a home delivery game changer. Peter Larsen, Amazon's vice president for delivery technology said the following _" This is not a trial. This is the fundamental way we think customers are going to order and receive their goods." _
The concept of in-home delivery is not a new one though. PostNord in Sweden has a pilot project in the town of Lerum. It was launched earlier this year. Their concept uses a one-time-use delivery code.
The Amazon Key is scheduled to be launched on Wednesday, November 8th, 2017.