Are garages optimal delivery drop-off points?

Source: Amazon promotional video
Nov 16, 2020
Tom Ryan has announced plans to ramp up Amazon Key In-Garage Delivery to over 4,000 cities.

Originally launched in 50 cities in April 2019, Amazon Key In-Garage Delivery enables couriers to open garages and so they can drop packages inside. Drivers receive temporary, one-time access to the garage after the Amazon app confirms the driver’s identity and delivery route via multi-step authentication. Drivers are instructed to go no more than five feet inside the garage.

Optionally, users can watch their courier in real time using a comparable camera (sold separately) and receive delivery notifications on their mobile device.

Homeowners must be Prime members and have a MyQ device ($29 at Amazon), the popular smart garage door opener that lets users control their garage door through an app.

Also launching is Key In-Garage Grocery Delivery, enabling grocery orders from Whole Foods Market or Amazon Fresh to be delivered to garages.

Amazon’s landing page said the company has made over one million successful in-garage deliveries, with a customer delivery rating of 4.7 out of five as of October 2020.

“Customers tell us they appreciate the convenience and peace of mind that in-garage delivery offers, and we’re happy to expand the service to thousands of additional cities,” said Pete Gerstberger, head of Key by Amazon, in a press release.

Amazon Key had also enabled courier delivery inside homes and inside car trunks, although both options are “currently paused” due to concerns over COVID-19. As with garage delivery, the services were touted as a way to avoid packages being stolen from stoops or having packages damaged by nature’s elements, whether inclement weather or rodents.

Walmart also recently suspended a pilot delivering groceries straight to customers’ refrigerators when they aren’t home due to COVID-19.

Post-pandemic, garage delivery may be a more favored option than in-home delivery in part because it’s less expensive for the customer. In-home delivery requires a home smart lock and camera that, combined, costs north of $200. Homeowners are also expected to feel less squeamish about providing a courier with access to their garage than the front door.

Since 2011, Amazon has also offered secure lockers for urban customers.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you expect that Amazon customers will be more willing to give the e-tailer access to their garages than their homes or car trunks? What benefits and pitfalls do you see to in-garage delivery vs. other options?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
"Smart play. Garage drop-offs protect products from porch pirates and protect consumer privacy with delivery boundaries. "
"I’ve played with this type of technology and I’m not impressed. When it works, its superb. But quite often it doesn’t work and at those times it’s incredibly frustrating."
"Given that we are looking at a long period of living with COVID-19, being able to have more options for delivery is a good thing."

Join the Discussion!

21 Comments on "Are garages optimal delivery drop-off points?"

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Gary Sankary

I think this is an interesting idea that I expect will see some adoption in the market. If a homeowner is concerned about porch theft, this could be a good option. The risks are that this gives criminals another access point into your garage and potentially your house. If the app gets hacked for example, what does that do to access? Honestly criminals who will figure out how to hack this system probably already have a number of options to break into homes. My thought is that the benefits to securing deliveries will outweigh the risks.

Kevin Graff

Here we go again with the brilliant and devious marketing minds at Amazon. Every year, just before Christmas, they announce some “amazing” new thing — drones one year, delivery to the trunk of your car the next year, and now delivery to inside your garage.

What does this give them? Millions of free media advertising dollars! Every media outlet jumps up and down to cover it, putting the Amazon brand in front of customers every day so that when they sit in front of their computer the first name they think of is — Amazon. I don’t blame them. It works every year.

Oliver Guy

This is a really neat idea. There are, however, some downfalls. Clearly it has potential in suburban areas where homes have garages – in more densely populated areas this may not be the case. The option to view via Ring Camera makes a lot of sense for the customer – but also gives Amazon greater stickiness in home security.

By far the biggest barrier I feel is compatibility with garage doors. In Europe, automated garage doors are typically less common than in North America and when they do exist they are typically manufactured by different companies than those in the North America – making compatibility tricky. On that point, the equipment needed to facilitate this feels more expensive than it should be – in Europe most powered garage doors can be opened by a simple external “bell-push” connected to the motor – automating opening via smarthome devices therefore should be really simple.

Suresh Chaganti

In garage-delivery makes a lot more sense from a safety and health perspective than delivering to inside the home or the trunk of the car. Also, many have second fridge in the garage which would allow the delivery person to drop off fresh groceries and frozen products.

Michael La Kier

Securing packages isn’t top of mind for all consumers but, for those who do have concerns, Amazon Key is a valuable service. Since those that are security-minded will be the main audience for Amazon Key, the extra steps to ensure the identity of the delivery drivers will be most welcome.

Richard Hernandez

i believe this is the same thing as letting people into your house to stock your refrigerator – I know I would not feel safe. I don’t know if the general public is ready for this yet, although I understand the rationale of getting product to customers as soon as possible.

Lisa Goller

Smart play. Garage drop-offs protect products from porch pirates and protect consumer privacy with delivery boundaries. As Amazon gains trust, consumers may eventually feel comfortable with in-home delivery, especially for groceries.

Jason Goldberg

Amazon Key in-garage delivery is a cool amenity, but it’s a niche use case. Porch piracy is a real (and growing) problem for e-commerce, but in-garage delivery only solves it for a small portion of the population. Porch piracy in single family residences best suited for in-garage delivery is probably the category of delivery destination most in need of a porch piracy solution. In most cases, more specific delivery instructions (leave boxes on the side of the house) can be just as effective as in-garage delivery for single-family residences.

Zel Bianco

As long as the homeowner remembers to lock the door from the garage into the house then this will work well. Most homeowners will be ok with this, especially if they can see what is going on and confirm the delivery. Given that we are looking at a long period of living with COVID-19, being able to have more options for delivery is a good thing. Will it have some pitfalls? Yes but, again, the more options that are available for us, the better.

Dave Bruno

I suspect that there will be lots of people who will opt in to this new service from Amazon. And I get it: convenience and security for their packages are legitimate benefits. But at what point will privacy concerns have a seat at the table when it comes to managing our relationship with Amazon? All of these “Amazon Key” services scare the heck out of me from a privacy standpoint. While I suppose they aren’t all that different than the Echo devices that have infiltrated tens of millions of living rooms (and kitchens and bedrooms), every inch of privacy we give up is an inch we never get back…

Gene Detroyer

Privacy concerns? I think we surrendered a long time ago.

Steve Montgomery

While both options have their own set of benefits, the individual’s answer will depend on what they keep in both places. The trunk option offers only access to the trunk, but the car must be outside. The garage option (assuming the person has a garage) offers more and perhaps securer space but may also offers a way into the house through door between house and garage. My expectation is, if available, most people will prefer the garage option.

Gene Detroyer

We haven’t been homeowners for over 20 years, but when we were and we expected a delivery, we always indicated “leave it in the garage.” Now this idea is a lot more secure, so what is not to like?

But this particular solution is not really the issue. The problems and concerns that arise with the magnitude of home deliveries are not going away on their own. But be assured there will be a solution.

By whatever technology, by whatever process, an efficient and secure system for drop-off of deliveries from Amazon, et. al., will be in place and will be the norm. It may not be the Amazon Room as we discussed a bit ago but, eventually, every home will have a secure place to receive deliveries that will allow and identify the whoever or whatever is delivering. It makes sense. Technology will eventually get it done. And every home will have a cheap and reliable system to handle this.

Doug Garnett

This appears to be progress. That said, garages are often home to expensive tools and recreational gear. So this will work for many and be unacceptable to others.

That said, I’ve played with this type of technology and I’m not impressed. When it works, its superb. But quite often it doesn’t work and at those times it’s incredibly frustrating. I look forward to research among garage receivers to hear of their experiences.

Ryan Mathews

This isn’t a new idea of course. Streamline tried it in the 1990s without much success, although that’s back when the “last mile” problem might as well have been the last 10,000 mile problem. Speaking practically, giving a retailer access to your garage – if it’s attached – is giving them access to your home, since that’s generally the least secure door on a home. These are unusual times, part of which work in favor of garage delivery and part of which work against it. On the plus side, garage delivery is one step closer to “no touch” and makes it easy for folks still quarantining packages. On the other hand, letting anyone breathe your air and potentially shed virus isn’t all that attractive a proposition. I’ve always said all these delivery models are just one major robbery, burglary, assault, or rape away from failure. One well-publicized misstep could set these programs back for years.

Cynthia Holcomb

Home delivery technology is safe and innocuous until it is not. Life within the walls of a home is private until it is not. AI-enabled information gathering, day to day, hour by hour, minute by minute of private in-home conversations, every purchase made, consuming every digital aspect of one’s private life, is now given freely by consumers to big tech in exchange for personal convenience. Has convenience transformed personal privacy and safety into a genuine fake?

James Tenser

Nothing really new here. Streamline was doing in-garage refrigerated grocery deliveries to homes in the Boston suburbs back in 1998-99. Loyal customers were reported to love the service. For Amazon, simply dropping off a box or two should be a cinch. It’s a minor upgrade to add an electronic “key” to enable authorized delivery people to open the door.
Homeowners with cluttered garages, or lots of valuable tools or bikes, may think twice about allowing this access to strangers. Amazon will have to weigh the potential for claims that such items go “missing.” Adding an additional security cam inside the garage might be a way to discourage bad behavior and false claims.
In-garage drop-off is one of several imperfect options for unattended package delivery. Amazon may have to accommodate multiple methods and allow customers to specify which one they prefer on each order at the time of checkout.

Patricia Vekich Waldron

All retailers are continuing to look for new ways to safely get goods to consumers. Amazon leads the pack in delivering devices, programs and promotions that give them in-home access. I’m happy to live in a high-rise where our front desk manages the 200+ packages a day that come into our building.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.

Once the systems have been hacked and/or items are stolen from the garage, people may be no more likely to have items put in the garage than they are to have them brought into their homes. Some people will not be comfortable giving access to their space at all. Some people will feel more comfortable providing this access than having items left on the doorstep. Consumers will decide if they are comfortable enough with this system to purchase the extra equipment.

John Karolefski

Amazon customers might allow access to their garages for deliveries if “porch piracy” has been a problem in their area. Otherwise, I don’t see the attraction of this service which requires buying special equipment for access. On a personal note, frequent Amazon deliveries on our home’s front stoop have never been a problem. No need for garage access.

Ricardo Belmar

For customers in suburban homes where they suffer from high rates of porch piracy of their packages, this may be an appealing solution. For others, this is will be an intolerable encroachment of privacy. For still others, they will be too suspicious of items going missing from their garages. And how many people keep track of everything in their garage that they will immediately notice it goes missing? I suspect that group of customers will not flock to this solution! That said, Amazon continues to barrel down the path of achieving ultimate customer convenience and this takes them one step closer!

"Smart play. Garage drop-offs protect products from porch pirates and protect consumer privacy with delivery boundaries. "
"I’ve played with this type of technology and I’m not impressed. When it works, its superb. But quite often it doesn’t work and at those times it’s incredibly frustrating."
"Given that we are looking at a long period of living with COVID-19, being able to have more options for delivery is a good thing."

Take Our Instant Poll

How likely is Amazon Key In-Garage to become more popular than its in-home delivery service?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...