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Here's How Amazon Keeps Your Packages Safe

By Natalie Walters - Updated Apr 17, 2019 at 5:00PM

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The latest option will let delivery people not quite into your house.

Amazon.com (AMZN -0.26%) has more than 100 million Prime members, whose membership perks include items available for free two-day, one-day, and same-day delivery. In 2017, Amazon delivered more than 5 billion Prime packages.

But with the rise of package deliveries has come the rise of package theft. To help guard against thieves, Amazon has come up with several secure delivery options. A few of them bring Amazon even further, literally, into your life.

The first Amazon-branded plane, which is white with the words Prime Air written on it in blue lettering.

Amazon's first branded plane is called Air One and helps support fast delivery. Image source: Amazon.

1. Deliveries inside your car

If you're a Prime member, you can now get your Amazon packages delivered to your car in any publicly accessible parking area via Amazon Key in-car delivery. You will receive a four-hour delivery window from Amazon, and you can track the delivery through the Amazon Key app.

This works only if your vehicle has a cloud-connected system so the Amazon employee can request to unlock and relock your car without your being there. Right now, that means in-Car delivery is available only with car models that also have an active connected-car service plan, such as OnStar or On Call.

This option is especially useful if you need a package delivered while you're on a road trip or in a new city. And right now, Amazon is running a promotion in which you get a $10 Amazon gift card if you try in-car delivery.

2. Deliveries inside your front door

Amazon started offering in-home delivery for Prime members via Amazon Key in November 2017.

Just as with in-car delivery, Prime members will get a notification in the morning of the delivery day with a four-hour window. When the employee arrives at your house, you receive an "arriving now" notification. The employee will request to unlock your door using an Amazon scanner. Amazon then uses its technology to verify that the employee has the right package and is at the right door. And if everything looks right, it will unlock your door. The employee places the package inside the door and then requests to lock the door.

To give customers peace of mind, Amazon lets you watch the delivery on your phone. To use this service, you need to buy a smart-lock kit that includes an Amazon security camera, the Cloud Cam, and a compatible smart lock. The kit options listed on Amazon.com range from $215 to $300.

3. Deliveries inside your garage 

Key for Garage is coming in early 2019 for Prime members, Amazon announced on Jan. 7 at CES in Las Vegas. Just as the name suggests, the service offers package delivery inside your garage to help protect your items from thieves.

To use this upcoming service, Prime members will need an $80 Chamberlain myQ Smart Garage Hub so that an Amazon employee can open their garage. This is a less intrusive delivery option than allowing an Amazon employee to step inside your home.

4. Deliveries to a locker

The locker drop-off option has been around since 2012, with Amazon-branded lockers acting as secure self-service pickup stations.

The lockers are available at various locations, such as Whole Foods, 7-Eleven, or Century 21 stores. Amazon provides an easy search system that lets you check for the nearest locker location.

When your package is delivered to a locker, you're be notified by email. You then have three days to pick it up before it's shipped back to Amazon and you receive a full refund. To pick up your package, you need to check the delivery email for your pickup code. When you enter that code into the locker's touchscreen display, the locker unit with your package will open.

So what's next for Amazon delivery? It might be delivery by drone. Amazon originally said it hoped to be doing this by 2018. But the company learned that the technology and regulatory hurdles involved with drone delivery are more complicated than it anticipated. But maybe 2019 is the year Amazon delivery drones will finally take off. 

Check out the latest Amazon earnings call transcript.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Natalie Walters 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.

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