Amazon recently announced they are launching a program called Amazon Key. Amazon Key is exclusively for Prime members and includes a security camera, smart lock, and app. The Key program gives homeowners the ability to temporarily allow certain people access to their home. The app sends the homeowner notifications of dog walkers, deliveries, house cleaners, etcetera, coming in and out of the home, and the camera lets the homeowner track the delivery or service person’s actions to ensure no one else enters the home. Amazon Key appears to be a game-changer in managing delivery, but are there any other solutions for homeowners or retailers?
Some companies offer outdoor lock boxes that have similar technology, but keep homes locked and secure. Another service company, LateShipment, has technology that covers costs of delivery errors. We spoke with the co-founder and CEO of LateShipment, Sriram Sridhar, to discuss the current state of delivery solutions and what this means for small businesses.
Sridhar explained that technology has been rather limited in regards to shipping, until now. “As technology finally turns it’s attention to the shipping industry, what lies ahead is possibly rapid change and progress that makes the shipping industry finally catch up with tech advancements that are considered commonplace now in other industries.” With this new focus on shipping, retailers and their customers will no longer settle for the same old shipping methods of the past. Retailers are “waking up to the fact that their responsibility towards providing a great customer experience doesn’t end with just getting an order out on time, but extends until the last mile delivery experience that puts a package in the hands of the customer. Customers are starting to expect a great delivery experience with every order and are not shy about holding merchants accountable for providing it to them.” It is all about customer service. Now that new shipping methods are being offered, retailers need to take advantage of those to keep their customers happy and their deliveries arriving intact and on time.
Big retailers, like Amazon, have the ability to take control of delivery and use the last-mile delivery to their advantage, but when it comes to independent retailers, these alternative shipping methods have a different effect. Sridhar believes, “Alternative delivery methods, especially ones that make the delivery experience better for end customers undoubtedly will put pressure initially on independent retailers as they may not be in a position to afford to pay a lot for using their services, but might be forced to do so to stay competitive with the high delivery expectations set by retail giants like Amazon. However, over time the costs are likely to decrease as demand increases and the end result will certainly be a collective quantum upward shift in delivery standards across all retail merchants, irrespective of their size.” The multitude of changes occurring in the retail industry is overwhelming. New delivery and shipping methods is one to add to the list. With all the new technology being developed it is important to understand what works best for your business. Shipping may not be a priority, but if it is, there are new ways to elevate it and accommodate increasingly demanding customers.