Amazon announced today that its Key by Amazon In-Garage Grocery Delivery is expanding to more than 5,000 U.S. cities and towns. Key In-Garage Delivery launched in five cities last November, and with today’s expansion will become available everywhere Amazon delivers groceries.
Amazon Key In-Garage delivery is available to Prime members shopping through Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market. To use Key, the customer must have a compatible connected smart garage door opener. When the order is placed, the customer selects “Key Delivery” for no extra charge. When the order arrives, delivery people open the smart garage door, place groceries inside, close the door and notify the customer.
Placing grocery deliveries inside a garage can have a number of benefits for the customer, including keeping food out of direct sunlight and other weather-related elements, as well as helping prevent theft by porch pirates. It also adds flexibility for customers who don’t have to be at home to wait for a delivery.
In-garage delivery followed a previous attempt by Amazon to offer in-home delivery when customers weren’t there. But customers weren’t too keen on letting strangers open their front doors and placing packages inside their homes while they were out. In-garage delivery was a bit of a social compromise. Amazon could still securely deliver packages inside a domicile while customers were out, but weren’t granted access into someone’s actual house.
Grocery delivery experienced a record year in 2020 as the pandemic pushed people into grocery e-commerce. As a result, all the major grocery retailers invested heavily in systems to meet that accelerated demand and provide faster service to customers. Amazon’s chief retail rival, Walmart, for instance, launched its Delivery+ subscription service last year and is trialing delivery to connected smart lockers that sit on a customer’s porch.
While Key In-Garage Delivery is probably not a resource-intensive program for Amazon to implement, one has to wonder if the company shouldn’t be focusing more attention on curbside pickup. Recent data from Brick Meets Click show that the majority of grocery e-commerce customers choose curbside pickup over delivery or ship-to-home options. And during its earnings call yesterday, Albertsons said that curbside pickup was up 865 percent over the course of 2020.
Prime members interested in trying out Key In-Garage Delivery can check its availability by visiting www.amazon.com/key-grocery.