Amazon has unveiled a new in-home delivery service for members of its Prime program, following speculation that it was working on such an initiative.
Available in 37 cities and surrounding areas starting Nov. 8 – and rolling out to additional locations over time – Amazon Key allows for delivery of tens of millions of items sold on Amazon.com at no extra cost for members of Amazon’s Prime subscription program. It allows customers to have packages securely delivered inside their homes without their having to be there.
Using the Amazon Key app, customers may track deliveries via real-time notifications, watch a delivery occur live, and even review a video of the delivery after it has finished. Each time a delivery driver requests access to a customer’s home, Amazon verifies that the correct driver is at the right address and at the intended time through an encrypted authentication process. Once the process is completed, a set-up Amazon Cloud Cam unit begins recording, and the door is unlocked.
No access codes or keys are necessary, and customers can set the frequency and length of time a delivery person has access, while also adding or removing contacts as they wish. Moreover, additional service providers will be available for scheduling with the lock technology in the coming months, including integrations with such brands as Merry Maids for home cleaning or Rover.com for pet sitters and dog walkers, as well as 1,200-plus services from providers across 60 professions via Amazon Home Services.
“Amazon Key gives customers peace of mind knowing their orders have been safely delivered to their homes and are waiting for them when they walk through their doors,” said Peter Larsen, VP of delivery technology at Seattle-based Amazon. “Now Prime members can select in-home delivery and conveniently see their packages being delivered right from their mobile phones.”
The Amazon Key In-Home Kit is now available for preorder to Prime members for $249.99, and includes an Amazon Cloud Cam unit along with one of several compatible smart locks by such manufacturers as Yale and Kwikset. Customers may install the kit themselves or have a professional do so at no charge.
The Battle Intensifies
Amazon’s new initiative comes on the heels of Walmart’s test of a similar service in Silicon Valley. Partnering with smart-lock provider August Home, the mega-grocer – possibly Amazon’s biggest competitor today – allows customers to place an order on Walmart.com for items, including groceries, which are retrieved and transported by a driver from Deliv, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based same-day-delivery provider. If no one responds to the doorbell, a one-time pre-authorized code can be used to enter the home and complete the delivery, all while allowing the customer to monitor the delivery in real time via a security system feed through smartphones or tablets.