Amazon Key Service Likely to Find Segments Ready for In-Home Delivery

by Brad Russell | Nov. 4, 2017

Amazon's announcement of a new Amazon Key in-home delivery service caused some media buzz this week, following on the heels of a similar announcement of an in-home delivery partnership between Walmart and August Home. Announcements of innovative services like these always create opportunities for media outlets to grab some attention and clicks, though the coverage can sometimes lack nuance.

Case in point: a polling firm called Morning Consult contacted me this week to discuss the Amazon Key service after it had conducted a rapid-fire consumer poll on attitudes about the service. Their results stated that 68% of general U.S. consumers don't want this service and the message tack they had already developed was a decidedly negative one that led with how "uncomfortable" Americans are with letting "strangers" in their homes.

As a consumer researcher,  I take such results with a grain of salt knowing how many methodological factors can influence results. My take on its findings was to affirm the privacy challenge while quickly pointing out that there is a ready-made market for this service among segments of consumers that are further down the road of adopting innovative products and services. As someone who watches this space closely, the most striking aspect of the current market is how ready some consumers are for in-home delivery. If the poll's results are close to accurate, it's no small thing that a third of those ages 18-29 are comfortable with the concept of in-home delivery. That's a huge market and bodes well for the future. I would never expect the majority of American consumers to be ready for any new product or service, especially one that requires a shift in behavior.  

Amazon and Walmart both certainly understand this. Amazon, particularly, is taking careful steps to protect consumer privacy by using only its own personnel, sending day-of notifications, establishing a narrow delivery time window, ringing the doorbell to alert occupants, and video verification of activity. I predict as early adopter trust is validated, in-home delivery and smart access control for a wide range of service providers will become normative for a large segment of U.S. households, many of which already have service providers coming into their homes, such as housekeepers, nannies, pest control, maintenance and repair technicians.    

So, the nuance required is one of weighting and adequately valuing segmentation. Unfortunately, the weighting of my analysis was presented the other way, as in suggesting this is a huge barrier even if a few people will like it. That was not accurate. Nuance matters.



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