Amazon did a reasonable Q&A with themselves:
- Q: How do we reduce problems with theft, and increase customers confidence in ordering more expensive things on-line?
- A: Let’s combine security, an eLock, camera, with delivery person access and tada: Amazon Key
This seems to be reasonable – if they can increase customer confidence in delivery, they can increase sales confidence and convenience. And there’s a very real problem with package theft in some areas – and this solves that problem.
Of course if they’d done market research, they might know how creepy the idea is to some. And many outlets slammed Amazon for the idea of allowing strangers into your home, including Golf Digest? (I guess since Tiger Wood got them interested in what happens off the links?)
Most aren’t mentioning that Walmart was trying to do a similar thing and in general, this isn’t much more invasive than a cleaning lady or cable guy. Many people have their landlords, cleaning people or service folks come into their homes when they’re not around. And this adds security of a camera and better auditing.
Amazon Car Key
If strangers coming into your house isn't creepy enough, they also have delivery service to your parked car (as long as it is in a public space). That'll be convenient for the car break-in thieves in most big cities: they can follow the Amazon delivery guy around to decide what they want. Will the Amazon folks move the bodies out of the way to get the packages in? Can I get a singing telegram delivered this way? I'm thinking of hiring an Amazon guy to hide in someone's back seat wearing panty-hose over his head to sing the greatest hits from various horror films. I keep thinking there's gonna be a guy with a pet boa-constrictor that's going to ruin this for everyone else.
In case your invasion of privacy alarms aren't going off, they also offered stalker mode on your package delivery, down to a few feet. "That traffic delivery guy must have eaten poorly, he's stopping at a lot of restrooms".
Of course we still have to see if there’s a market for this.
In our place, I like the idea of being able to put a locker on our stoop, and just giving them access to that. So I’m not willing to call the idea a flop. Just one that’s generated a lot of negative buzz so far, but has some hidden brilliance, if they can pull it off. Imagine the services they could provide if they can teach people to trust Amazon to have access to their home: free grocery delivery and put-away. Meal delivery and table setting (come home to everything ready to eat). Or services for you home (maintenance). There’s business potential, if they can get take the Hannibal Lecter’esque “de-liver” out of delivery.