Amazon.com Inc. wants you to open the door to your delivery courier—even when you aren’t home.
The company on Wednesday introduced a connected door-lock and security-camera system to let package carriers, guests and eventually dog walkers in and out of customers’ houses, all controlled via an app.
Dubbed “Amazon Key,” the new $249.99 system allows consumers to control and monitor deliveries and other services remotely.
“This is not an experiment for us,” said Peter Larsen, vice president of delivery technology at Amazon. “We think this is going to be a fundamental way that customers shop with us for years to come.”
Amazon Key plays to the online retail giant’s package delivery ambitions, enabling indoor drop-offs to customers as the company handles more of its own shipments. Already the company has added lockers and apartment building package hubs. In-home delivery is a natural next step.
A consequence of the rise in e-commerce is that “theft is certainly a problem,” said John Haber, who works with retailers on supply-chain issues as chief executive of consultancy Spend Management Experts. Theft is particularly pronounced during the holiday season when some thieves dubbed “porch pirates” go from door to door stealing gifts.
But it remains to be seen whether consumers are ready to open their doors to strangers. Transportation industry experts said that most people are likely to balk at the idea, at least at first.
“People have a difficult time letting cleaning people into their house if they haven’t been properly vetted,” said Ivan Hofmann, a former FedEx Corp. executive and transportation-industry consultant. Still, he added, that is how innovation works: “You have to try things that no one else has tried and see what works.”