Amazon's New Delivery Lockers: It doesn't Sound Like A Big Deal, But It Is

Andrew Hyde/CC BY 2.0

My parents's house had a milk box on the side wall, a door on the outside and another on the inside. This let the milk man leave bottles of milk out of public sight, in a slightly more protected environment. This has always been a problem with home deliveries; where you put the stuff when people aren't home.

Back in the dotcom boom, when companies like Webvan were going to deliver food to our homes, I proposed that a new form of milk box with a digital lock, big enough for packages, be installed in homes to facilitate deliveries. I thought fridges should have inside and outside doors so that food could be loaded directly into them.

That might have been a bit much, but the modern milk box has arrived, with Amazon Lockers. Right now they are located in groceries and convenience stores in high-density areas. According to Greg Bensinger in the Wall Street Journal,

By adding the lockers, Amazon is addressing the concerns of some urban apartment dwellers who fear they'll miss a delivery or have their items stolen from their doorstep....."The home-delivery challenge has always been an issue for e-commerce in Europe and Japan, and is growing in the U.S., especially as thieves have moved into the game," said Fiona Dias, chief strategy officer for ShopRunner, which facilitates two-day delivery at about 60 retailers. "It's easy to follow a UPS truck around and steal packages from doorsteps."

moon angel/CC BY 2.0

The problem with the Amazon Locker is that it belongs to Amazon, which excludes other vendors. The personal milk box was open to anyone. Today you would put a digital lock on it, and give a code when you ordered your goods. Since deliveries could happen at any time and the nobody-home problem would be eliminated, it would be much more efficient should cost less.

Also, I found as a teenager that it was an excellent alternate entry to the house when coming home late and not wanting to wake my parents by knocking. Every home should have one.

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Tags: Shopping | Urban Life