Last fall, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) introduced Amazon Key, an in-home delivery service designed to defeat porch package thieves. The company has now introduced another secure package delivery service, but one that doesn’t require giving a driver access to your home.
Amazon Key In-Car delivery works with connected car services, allowing the delivery driver to safely stash a package in a customer’s car trunk.
Amazon Key In-Car Delivery Service Launches
On April 24, AMZN announced the launch of its new Amazon Key In-Car delivery service. Initially available to Amazon Prime members in 37 U.S. cities and their surrounding areas, the service builds on the premise of Amazon Key in-home delivery, which began rolling out last October.
The difference is that with Amazon Key In-Car, you can have an amazon.com purchase safely delivered to the trunk of your car instead of the inside of your home.
AMZN says the in-car delivery service is available for Same-Day, Two-Day and Standard shipping, with customers simply selecting “In-Car” delivery at checkout. The service is available for most products, but not heavy or bulky items.
How Does it Work?
Customers need to own a supported car. At launch, that means a 2015 or newer General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) model with an active OnStar account, or 2015 or newer Volvo (OTCMKTS:VLVLY) with an active Volvo On Call account. According to GM, this makes more than 7 million GM cars eligible for Amazon Key In-Car in the U.S.
Car owners download the Amazon Key app and use it to link to their connected car service. When they choose to have a package delivered to their vehicle, they provide its location (it must be a publicly accessible parking space) and a time within Amazon’s delivery hours. They then receive an estimated four-hour delivery window.
The Amazon Key driver only has access to remotely open the trunk of the vehicle — no ability to start the car — and once the trunk is unlocked and the delivery made, AMZN says the driver can’t move away from the vehicle until the trunk is confirmed to be locked.
Amazon Key In-Car Delivery Improves on the Original
The new Amazon Key In-Car delivery option has several advantages compared to the original in-home service.
Unlike the original Amazon Key, it doesn’t require customers to buy any equipment. In-home deliveries require a hardware kit (connected camera and smart door lock), which starts at $249, plus installation. By turning the customer’s vehicle into a mobile storage locker, AMZN can deliver packages virtually anywhere — home, office or even while on vacation.
Perhaps most importantly, Amazon Key In-Car removes the barrier of having a stranger inside your home while you aren’t there.
The downside? While a home always stays in one place, a car is constantly on the move. Despite reminders, the possibility is always there that when the AMZN driver leaves with the package, the car has left the designated area (something Amazon will know as it has access to the car’s location via the connected service on delivery day only).
If this happens, Amazon says the driver will deliver to a designated backup location selected via the app — such as the front porch — or Amazon Key In-Car again on the following day.
Retail purchases from amazon.com are the engine that keeps AMZN stock humming. Thefts of packages from porches — especially during busy holiday seasons — have been a growing problem, but Key helped to address that issue.
Amazon Key In-Car delivery takes safe delivery to the next level, adding convenience, making Prime membership (another important factor for AMZN stock) even more compelling, and offering another advantage over Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) and its online shopping ambitions.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.