If you’ve seen the marketing video which coupled the announcement then you probably had a thought something along the lines of “why would you let a complete stranger in your house when you’re not there?”
Sure you have to grant access to your home remotely and you can watch the courier come in via the camera that’s part of the system, but this might not be enough of a deterrent for an unscrupulous character. Hey, at least you’d be a witness to your own burglary.
But the more I think about it, the more it seems like the Key system is actually a savvy move by Amazon and one that makes complete sense.
Think of how many times you’ve not been in to sign for a delivery. How many undeliverable packages do you think one driver has to return with each day?
Multiply that by all the drivers in one city, or the whole country and you come to appreciate that it’s not only incredibly inefficient to have to repeatedly attempting a delivery but it’s a real sticking point for Amazon in its goal of being the best end-to-end shopping marketplace.
It’s literally the last few feet of that shopping experience where the Key comes in. With it Amazon would essentially be the only delivery company with direct access to your home and, in an industry where companies can only really offer different versions of the same thing, this would give it an entirely unique advantage over competitors.
When you think of it like this you realise that by having the Key system installed it not only greatly improves the efficiency of its Prime delivery service but it can also, ahem, open the door to Amazon’s other services being integrated, and not to mention the potential marketplace of service providers like house cleaners or pet sitters that it can bring into the fold too.
Imagine getting your Whole Foods order delivered and unpacked while you’re at work so you can come home to a fully stocked fridge of your favourite organic produce.
Better yet, “Alexa, reorder my Whole Foods shopping list.” The next day —or even the same day—it’s there and that’s all you had to do.
Or you could just get a last minute birthday present and your flat cleaned of course.
Amazon’s products have been hit-and-miss. Remember the Fire phone? If not, well, exactly. But look at how the Echo and its offshoots are arguably the dominant home controlled speakers after just two years on the market in America, or less than one in some parts of the world, in spite of the privacy concern that it’s always listening.
With the Key its success will undoubtedly come down to a similar trade off for consumers deciding if the erosion of privacy of having an always-on camera, coupled and remote front door lock is worth it for guaranteed package delivery.
I suspect there’ll be plenty of Prime members fine with it and I’m sure Amazon will be too.