One of the biggest problems in ecommerce is the safe and complete delivery of products beyond the doorstep of the consumer’s home. With the growing popularity of online purchases, the theft of packages has become a problem. Swiping deliveries are stolen from porches and mailboxes before the packages reach the rightful owners. It is also shown that 12% of all home deliveries worldwide failed at the first delivery attempt. In the Netherlands, this is even 25-30%. To make sure consumers get their packages safely and at the first delivery attempt in their hands, Amazon has set up a secure-lock service, called Amazon Key. But are consumers willing to let strangers into their homes?
Amazon Key is an Amazon service that allows consumers to give delivery drivers access to their homes. The service is only available for prime subscribers and it relies on Amazon’s new Cloud Cam and compatible smart lock. The camera is the hub and is connected to the internet via Wi-Fi. The camera talks to the lock over ZigBee, a wireless protocol utilized by many smart home devices.
The consumer orders something for delivery and clicks the ‘in-home’ shipping option. The deliverer can enter by scanning the bar code on the package. That sends a message to Amazon’s cloud, which first turns on the camera and then gives a signal to the smart lock to open the door. Then the deliverer can place the package inside the consumer’s home, close the door behind him and confirm that the package has been delivered. After this confirmation, the door locks again. The consumer can then remotely watch the video to see if everything went well.
Family and friends can also be connected to the system. Users can decide for themselves when, how often and for how long someone can access their home. In addition, a thousand different service providers can be registered who are affiliated with Amazon Key. The service is currently only available in 37 cities across the US, where Amazon Logistics handles the drop-off. Amazon hopes to expand the service more widely in the future.
It requires a lot of trust from the consumer to allow strangers in their home. It involves various risks related to security, privacy concerns and insurance implications. For example, there are questions about what happens if a robber sneaks in past the delivery person or what happens if the smart lock is hacked? Amazon offers ‘Amazon Key Happiness Guarantee’, but this does not include stolen items.
Do consumers take these risks for granted and are they willing to allow delivery drivers into their homes? Research from Paazl shows that 37% of the consumers surveyed is not comfortable with any kind of guest access. On the other hand, 61% is comfortable with the idea of in-home delivery. Of this 61%, 28% is comfortable if they approve each individual entry at the time, 22% is comfortable with regular access by trusted individuals and 11% is comfortable with on-demand access. 2% of the consumers surveyed is unsure.
We from B2C Europe, also researched how open consumers are to new delivery methods. This survey is taken across the UK, the Netherlands and France. Our own research shows that 58% of the French consumers would give couriers temporary access to their property via a one-time access code. In comparison, only 36% and 25% of UK and Dutch consumers respectively would give access to their homes due to security and insurance concerns.
It can be concluded that opinions about in-home delivery are still divided. Companies will have to do everything to win the trust of the consumer and to invest in new innovative technologies to overcome the obstacles that the ecommerce industry is facing.
 Insurance Quotes (2015), 23 million Americans have had packages stolen from their doorsteps.
 Pure 360 (2016), CMO insight: Why there’s no future for home deliveries in retail.
 Logistiek (2015), De pakket-aflever-spagaat: ‘Bezorg thuis – ik ben niet thuis’.
 Amazon (2017), Introducing Amazon Key.
 Security.world (2017), What are the risks of Amazon Key?
 Paazl (2017), How comfortable are consumers about in-home delivery?