Amazon Prime members have the opportunity to lighten their loads under the newest feature that the tech giant announced today. Users of its Amazon Key app will be able to have items delivered directly to their parked cars at home, work, or other nearby locations found in their address book, in another move in the deliver battle between Amazon and Walmart.
“Since launching Amazon Key last November, we’ve safely delivered everything from cameras to collectible coins inside the home,” said Peter Larsen, vice president of delivery technology at Amazon. “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 Key is a “smart entry solution,” which enables users to open their cars and homes with keyless entries, remote lock and unlock options, validate guest access, and have purchases delivered inside the home – and now to their car – without being present.
Available within 37 U.S. cities and adjacent locales, Prime members simply need to download the key app and sync their car to begin using the service. There is a caveat, though. Users must own models of 2015 or newer Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac, or Volvo cars.
“On delivery day, the Amazon Key App lets customers check if they’ve parked within range of the delivery location, and provides notifications with the expected four-hour delivery time window,” an Amazon spokesman explained. “The app also notifies customers when the delivery is on its way, and the package has been delivered. Customers can track when their car was unlocked and relocked in the App’s activity feed, and rate their in-car delivery.”
The service might not sit well with those concerned about theft or hijacking, but the spokesman assured that the app deploys multiple levels of verification to bolster security. “Each time a delivery driver requests access to a customer’s vehicle, Amazon verifies that an authorized driver is at the right location with the right package, through an encrypted authentication process,” said the spokesman. “Once this process is successfully completed, the car is then unlocked. Customers receive a notification via the Amazon Key App after the delivery is completed and the vehicle is relocked. No special codes or keys are ever provided to delivery drivers.”
The feature will likely resonate with time-poor Millennial consumers who have tapped the tech giant not only for splurges, but for the refill of basic household items. Items can be delivered into their car while they go about their daily responsibilities. What’s more, given the Whole Foods acquisition, a savvy extension of the service might resolve the painstaking task of carrying hefty groceries to the car – food for thought.
Having already beta-tested the service, it will be important for Amazon to iron out any kinks, especially as it grows in popularity. With Black Friday ever looming, ensuring that the app – and delivery people – are capable of carrying the bandwidth of large orders is critical to the ongoing use – and success – of the app.
Walmart has leaned on sales associates for delivering orders; the retailer pays the staff for dropping packages at consumers’ homes along their routes after work. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer last year acquired Parcel, a technology-based, same-day, last-mile delivery provider. Walmart has launched its own in-home delivery solution.
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