Amazon Key offers a way to let strangers into your house while you’re out


NEW YORK, N.Y. (CBS NEWS) — Would you let a stranger in your house? Would you do it for someone dropping off that amazing thing you ordered? Amazon (AMZN) hopes so.

The online retailer will launch a service next month called Amazon Key that would allow delivery people walk into your home to drop off a box when you’re not there.

Those who want the service would first have to buy a camera and a Wi-Fi connected lock from the Seattle company that starts at $250. Shoppers can then select in-home delivery on the Amazon. When the delivery person shows up, the camera starts recording and the door unlocks.

Here’s the service explained in an Amazon video:

It’s not just for Amazon deliveries, either-the service can be used to let in guests and will soon let customers schedule in-home visits from more than 1,200 businesses on Amazon Home Services, including house cleaners and dog walkers, CNET reported. The service will be available in 37 cities on Nov. 8, Amazon said.

Amazon Key could offer a big benefit for city dwellers whose packages have been stolen from their doorsteps, damaged by rain or snow, or just had delivery delayed because a person was not home to open the door. As CNET notes, damaged deliveries are costly for e-retailers like Amazon, which then need to field calls from annoyed shoppers and refill lost orders. In all, 31 percent of people have experienced package theft, according to a survey this year from Shorr Packaging.

Rival Walmart (WMT) is currently testing a similar service in California’s Silicon Valley that delivers food straight to customers’ refrigerators. Peter Larsen, Amazon’s vice president of delivery technology, would not comment to CNET whether Amazon plans to use a similar service for groceries.

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