Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) wants to make it easier for customers to receive deliveries without them being stolen or subject to bad weather. It wants to drop the packages off inside buyers' homes.
To do that, the online retailer plans to introduce Amazon Key, a service for Prime members launching Nov. 8 in 37 cities. The pilot program gives an Amazon delivery driver one-time access to the buyer's home after they elect the "in-home" delivery option and set themselves up with a special camera and restricted-access lock.
Getting deliveries like that may be convenient, but it's apparently not something the majority of Americans are comfortable with. Over two-thirds (68%) of 2,0211 U.S. adults surveyed by Morning Consult between Oct. 26-30 said they are not comfortable letting delivery drivers have access to their homes. Over half (53%) said the idea makes them "very uncomfortable."
How does Amazon Key work?
In order to use Amazon Key, Prime members need to order a kit (starting at $249.99) that includes a camera, as well as a compatible smart lock. They can get free, professional installation or they can opt to do it themselves.
In-home delivery does not cost extra once the kit has been set up. It's available on all orders including same-day, one-day, two-day, and standard shipping. Customers using Key can track their deliveries, watch the delivery live or on a delay via Amazon's cloud camera, and get real-time notifications.
"This state-of-the-art technology doesn't simply replace a key with a digital passcode," Amazon explained in a press release. "Each time a delivery driver requests access to a customer's home, Amazon verifies that the correct driver is at the right address, at the intended time, through an encrypted authentication process."
Once that happens, the camera that the homeowner bought as part of the Key kit starts recording. The driver does not get an access code and he or she can only enter the one time required to make the delivery.
People are wary
As the survey results show, people have strong concerns about a delivery driver entering their home even with all of the fail-safes Amazon has put in place. Of course, that could change, as the public was once wary of getting into a stranger's car (Uber, Lyft) or sleeping in a stranger's home (Airbnb).
"Any kind of cultural shift like this requires consumers to overcome some sort of barrier," Parks Associates Research Director Brad Russell told Morning Consult. "In order to do that, the proposed value has to exceed their discomfort."
Amazon is not alone in wanting to enter consumers' homes. Wal-Mart has been testing a similar program since the summer. In the brick-and-mortar chain's test, it goes as far as putting groceries in the consumer's refrigerator. Like Amazon Key, the Wal-Mart program uses a smart lock and a camera that allows the homeowner to watch the delivery in real time.
Maybe, but not yet
People got over their fears of Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb because those services fill a need. Amazon Key and Wal-Mart's program may do that as well, but the initial fear plus a $249.99 starting price, may keep the Amazon test group small.
Packages do get stolen or ruined in bad weather. Having them brought inside solves those issues and Amazon has done a good job in addressing the security concerns. Over time, this may become as common as calling an Uber. In the near-term, however, Amazon is going to struggle to get people to pay for this convenience.
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Daniel B. Kline has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.