Amazon on Wednesday unveiled a new way for Prime members to receive packages directly in their homes while they’re away — Amazon Key.
Customers hoping to use the service must download the Amazon Key app and purchase a smart lock, as well as Amazon’s latest device — an internet-connected security camera called "Amazon Cloud Cam," which can send customers videos of their packages being delivered. The Amazon Key In-Home Kit starts at $249.99, according to a company press release. The security camera also works seamlessly with Alexa-enabled devices, according to a separate press release.
The service will become available at no extra cost to Prime members in 37 cities across the U.S. on Nov. 8, with more locations rolling out over time.
Once again, Amazon has upped the game on delivery. Its latest effort certainly raises the bar on convenience, but it’s also an effort to combat a rising problem for Prime customers in urban areas where packages are frequently stolen.
"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," Peter Larsen, vice president of delivery technology at Amazon, said in a statement. "Now, Prime members can select in-home delivery and conveniently see their packages being delivered right from their mobile phones."
Handing over the digital keys of your home to complete strangers isn’t something many consumers are ready to do without reservation, and Amazon is working to mitigate those concerns in the name of convenience. In its press release, the company said users of the service can customize the frequency and length of time a person has access, as well as adding or removing contacts as they like. And it’s not just about package delivery. The service includes integrations with cleaning company Merry Maids and dog walking company Rover, as well as 1,200 other services available through Amazon Home Services.
This isn’t Amazon’s only idea when it comes to conquering in-home delivery. Earlier this month, CNBC reported Amazon was developing a smart doorbell that could be used to allow a delivery person one-time entry to a home. Another report to the media outlet stated that Amazon was in advanced talks to partner with Phrame, a company whose tech could allow packages to be delivered directly to the trunk of a car.
In recent months, rival Walmart also announced a pilot of in-home delivery for groceries. Partnering with Deliv and a smart locks company, the new service allows customers to have perishables stocked in their refrigerators while they’re out. Similarly, those using the service are able to watch a video of the delivery process from their smartphones.
Amazon is a bit ahead of Walmart in the race for in-home delivery, considering its service is rolling out in full to nearly 40 cities just before the holidays, but the key to customers wallets is still up for grabs.