Doorstep delivery? That’s quaint by Amazon’s standards. Not content with delivering to lockers (which it already does), the Seattle-based web firm is piloting a program in Munich, Germany that’ll see parcels left in stationary cars. Starting next month for Prime subscribers, Amazon’s partnering with delivery service DHL to ship packages straight to the trunks of Audi-owning customers.
The merits of such a service are debatable, but at least Amazon’s implementation seems straightforward. When it launches in early May, customers chosen to enroll will indicate the approximate location of the car and the desired drop-off time during checkout. The agent delivering the package will get one-time keyless trunk access, limiting the potential for any funny business. They’ll then fit the package among any miscellany, of course, but also pick up any items marked for return.
Why Audis and not, say, Volvos? The limitation appears technical in nature; according to the Financial Times, in that the first adopters need to have cars that can enable third-party access. Presumably, and assuming car delivery catches on, software improvements on the car-maker side will make broader rollouts possible.
Trunk drop-off is actually one of Amazon’s less quixotic shipping experiments. The company has been developing Prime Air, a fleet of unmanned drones, overseas for the past several months, and in New York has experimented with bicycle couriers for its one-hour Prime Now delivery.
Amazon’s also expanded its network of fulfillment centers to supplement delivery in more places. As early as last April, the company began posting job offerings in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York for Last Mile, a same-day service poised to take on shipping giants like Fedex and UPS.
Delivery to the trunk of your car may not solve all the same problems Amazon’s trying to tackle with its other services. It may not even solve some of them. But it’s yet another indication of how far the company’s willing to go to tempt customers away from brick-and-mortar stores.
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