Will homes of the future include ‘Amazon Rooms’?
The novel coronavirus pandemic has forced significant changes on how we live, how we shop and now it seems it could impact how we build houses. The home of the future might be built with e-commerce in mind, and the trend already appears to have started — at least in Hollywood.
Wealthy, single-family home buyers have begun adding a room in their homes built specifically for the drop-off and storage of Amazon packages so that they can be decontaminated before brought into the house, according to what one real estate brokerage CEO told Hollywood Reporter. This new amenity, dubbed an “Amazon Room,” has an analog in the mail receiving rooms in many large, high-end multi-tenant buildings. Packages delivered to single-family homes, however, tend to be left on the porch or near the mailbox, which can lead to theft.
Though touching contaminated surfaces is no longer believed to pose a significant risk for the transmission of the novel coronavirus, some maintain the belief that it is safest to sterilize incoming packages.
Before the pandemic, both Amazon and Walmart had been testing solutions that would allow for delivery directly into customer homes, as e-commerce grew more popular and package theft grew alongside it. Some characterized the problem as hitting epidemic proportions during recent holiday seasons.
Amazon launched a service in 37 cities in late 2017 called Amazon Key, which allows customers to have packages delivered directly into their homes by Amazon associates. When delivery people arrive at customers‘ homes, they verify that they are at the correct location via their scanner and request that Amazon unlock the door remotely so that they can drop off the package. Customers can watch the drop-off via Amazon’s cloud-based surveillance cam, which is activated for the duration of the delivery.
In 2019, Walmart began testing a service that went even further. Walmart’s InHome Delivery allows customers to have groceries delivered directly to their refrigerator. The service is still active, although Walmart’s FAQ indicates that it has not yet been expanded outside of its three initial test markets. The FAQ also includes a segment on protecting customers using the service and preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus during the pandemic.
- “Amazon Room” Becomes Hot Amenity for Hollywood Homebuyers Amid Pandemic – Hollywood Reporter
- Amazon to begin making in-home delivery in 37 cities – RetailWire
- Will customers give Walmart the keys to their homes? – RetailWire
- FYI: For Your InHome – Walmart
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will rooms in homes dedicated to receiving e-commerce packages become popular enough to change how deliveries are made in the U.S.? What other types of logistics solutions, such as Amazon Key, Walmart InHome and in-fridge grocery delivery, might be incorporated into “Amazon Rooms”?