Online shopping is great and we might all be a little addicted, but you never quite know the best place to send your deliveries – your house, the office, your parents’ house? And even if you plan ahead, the delivery always seems to come when you’re out, right? Amazon has thought of this too, with its new intelligent lockers inside apartment buildings for accepting deliveries: Amazon Hub. This way, even if a customer isn’t home, a courier can quickly and safely drop off a package, with no worries about nosy doormen trying to figure out what’s inside.
Faster and cheaper deliveries with new smart lockers
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about high-tech lockers where you can pick up your online purchases. In fact, Amazon Lockers, yet another service by the American e-commerce giant, are already available in Italy. They allow you to pick up deliveries from lockers in public spaces, like stations or supermarkets. Buyers have 3 days to collect their purchase using a password that’s emailed to them.
Smart Lockers are gaining popularity because they benefit both parties involved. The delivery person doesn’t have to come back and try again if the customer isn’t home, and the buyer can stop by and pick up their package whenever it’s most convenient, without having to make special plans or sprint to the post office before it closes.
In Italy, where online purchases are growing and currently represent a €32 billion market, innovative solutions like this are starting to gain momentum. In Milan’s coworking space Copernico, WIB PickUP Smart lockers have been installed in collaboration with Mailboxes etc. and are available for anyone who works there. There’s also a similar structure at the Maire Tecnimont offices.
Amazon Hub is open 24/7 and available to all couriers
Providing temporary delivery points around the city wasn’t enough, so Amazon decided to bring the service even closer to their customers: a smart locker right inside their apartment building. With the Amazon Hub, all residents have their own private space for deliveries of anything they order online.
There are several advantages to this method, starting with increased privacy compared to leaving packages with a doorman. The courier drops off the package in the relevant box and leaves. The owner comes and picks it up after inserting the code for the box. Even tracking is easier because there’s just one precise delivery time and no changing hands. Simple, quick and safe.
At the moment the service is only available in the USA, where they’re testing it with a few residential complexes. It provides residents a cheaper, more secure service by removing the need to have a person physically present to manage deliveries. And they also win in terms of when they can collect their deliveries: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The real news is that the Amazon Hub isn’t just for deliveries by the American e-commerce company — it can be used by other couriers. And not just purchases from sites that use Amazon to deliver, any courier can leave merchandise in the same box. The basic set of lockers, called the Hub Starter is a little under 2 meters wide with 42 compartments, and can be expanded to include a further 23 boxesAvere un deposito momentaneo delle merci in città non era sufficiente, così Amazon ha deciso di portare il servizio ancora più vicino ai suoi clienti: uno smart locker all’interno dei condomini sotto casa. Con Amazon The Hub, ogni residente ha uno spazio privato personale per le consegne di ogni ordine effettuato online.
An innovative solution beyond deliveries
It’s not just a great tool for deliveries, it’s also a space that could have lots of other functions beyond what it was conceived for. Since the boxes are connected online, they can send texts or notifications to the owner to let them know when their package is delivered, and vice versa. Sellers can also see when something’s been delivered, which is perfect for returns or exchanges.
It could also turn out to be a useful addition to student dormitories for exchanging study materials, or in office buildings as a secure storage place. In coworking spaces they could be a drop off point for items to share among startuppers, or they could just be a safe place for people to leave things for their friends and family who might be on a different schedule.
And what about tourism? These could definitely be a turning point. Think about rented apartments, hotels with no central reception, or B&Bs that still require specific opening hours and someone to manually hand over documents and keys. Now with just a secure code the whole transaction could happen through the Amazon Hub.
We’ll wait for it to arrive in Italy to see if it’s really the revolution that will make doormen a thing of the past.