How Amazon’s In-Garage Delivery Could Take On Porch Pirates

Amazon packages

Retailers are offering new delivery options designed to ensure that packages reach their intended recipients — and don’t fall into the hands of enterprising thieves called porch pirates. Amazon, for instance, unveiled a way for eligible members of its Prime program to receive products in their garage via a Key Smart Garage Kit. Shoppers can select an “In-Garage delivery” option during the Amazon checkout process. In addition, shoppers can use the Key by Amazon app to check the status of their garage doors as well as open or close them remotely.

GM of Key by Amazon Rohit Shrivastava said in an announcement for the offering, “We know it is important to keep innovating to make delivery as convenient as possible for customers, which is why we’re excited to now have Key for Garage available.” Shrivastava continued, “Today, we are thrilled to open Key by Amazon to millions of Prime members who can now have their Amazon packages delivered securely to their garages. With this new option, members can truly unlock the convenience of the Amazon experience.”

The offering taps into the proprietary myQ connected technology of the Chamberlain Group (CGI). Consumers who already have a garage door opener that is connected to myQ can link those accounts with their Amazon accounts via the Key by Amazon app. Alternatively, they can buy one of two Key Smart Garage Kits. In addition, consumers can supplement either kit with an Amazon Cloud Cam (Key Edition). U.S. shoppers can also use the Key by Amazon app to manage access to their garages.

CGI President and Chief Operating Officer Jeff Meredith said in the announcement that a recent survey found 72 percent of Americans “who live in a house or townhome take extra measures to ensure delivery acceptance of their packages, including staying home from work to wait for the package.” Meredith continued, “With Key by Amazon, homeowners no longer have to reorganize their life to receive packages. Key plus myQ smart garage access gives homeowners control over the package delivery process while offering a safe and convenient destination for unattended package delivery.”

In-Car Deliveries

In-garage delivery is not Amazon’s only attempt at efforts that could keep packages in the hands of their intended recipients — and thwart porch pirates. Last year, news surfaced that the eCommerce retailer started to deliver purchases to the inside of its shoppers’ cars. At the time, it was said that the free service was only available to Prime members in certain cities. According to the company’s website, “Key In-Car delivery is available with model year 2015 and newer Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC and Volvo vehicles with an active connected car service plan, such as OnStar or On Call.”

Prime members register their eligible vehicles with Amazon and then go through the typical checkout process with the eCommerce retailer to receive deliveries in their cars. Consumers park their vehicles at a predetermined delivery address on the arranged date. Drivers then put the purchases inside the vehicles and lock them. That option came after the retailer announced the launch of Amazon Key in 2017, which is described as a way to facilitate unattended in-home deliveries for Prime members.

Online Package Delivery Services

Beyond large eCommerce retailers, startups have tackled the challenge of keeping porch pirates at bay. Last year, Vyllage was gearing up for the launch of a service to let consumers have their packages delivered to their neighbors when they are not home. Vyllage Co-founder Laura Borland told PYMNTS in an October interview that the offering is, in a sense, a “neighborhood watch for packages.”

Users can tap into the startup’s service by opening an app and locating neighbors within their ZIP codes. They then pay a small fee by credit card that varies depending on the size of the package once they choose a neighbor. After they complete that step, they receive the full address of the neighbor who can accept their delivery. And they receive a name the neighbor has chosen for the address in addition to a four-letter identifying code for the location that they provide to an online merchant.

With the help of new delivery technologies, both eCommerce merchants and online innovators are creating new ways to help make sure that packages reach their intended recipients and don’t fall into the prying hands of porch pirates in the digital age.