Amazon has inked deals with several of the nation’s largest apartment building owners to install Amazon locker systems at residential properties, where packages can be delivered and stored for pickup.
Those contracts could give Amazon a more convenient way to deliver packages to customers in more than 850,000 apartment units across the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reports.
Apartment operators, including Greystar, Equity Residential and the Bozzuto Group, say they’ve agreed to roll out Amazon’s so-called Hub systems at some of their properties in the months ahead. For each Hub, landlords pay up to $20,000 upfront. The Bozzuto Group operates about 68,000 apartment units on the East Coast and is installing its first four locker systems this week.
CEO Toby Bozzuto said an uptick in people placing online orders means package pileups in apartment lobbies across the country — which can be a burden for apartment managers.
“If they’re bent over looking at packages and sorting them 3 hours a day, in some cases, as we’ve seen,” Bozzuto said, “they’re not able to do their core job, which is being attentive to the needs of the customer.”
Amazon Lockers already exist at some convenience stores and other public spaces, but the Hub program launched this summer, and is specific to residential spaces.
“It’s not a new idea,” said Foster Finley at consulting firm AlixPartners. “This is just a fairly logical extension to what they’re doing. They’re exerting some control over the package delivery experience that someone will have.”
Putting delivery lockers where people live can prevent packages from being stolen — or returned because nobody’s home to sign.
“It’s something a little bit like a mailbox,” said analyst Roger Kay at Endpoint Technologies. “There’s an immediacy there, there’s a convenience there, you don’t have to time it perfectly.”
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Hub lockers don’t just hold Amazon packages, but also packages from UPS, FedEx, USPS and others.
“You can pick up any package, from any sender or any retailer, anytime,” Amazon proclaims in a Hub promo video. “The Hub is always open, and conveniently located right where you live.”
The retail giant is already rapidly evolving into a logistics company — with its fulfillment centers and delivery couriers. Kay said the expansion of the Hub delivery locker program says a lot about how embedded Amazon is in most of our lives — especially with apartment owners paying for it, instead of the other way around.
“They’re doing it to make their apartment building more desirable,” Kay said. “And in some competitive markets, that would help. You’ll say, ‘Well, do you have an Amazon Hub?’ ‘Yup, you can check that one off.’"
Bozzuto said his apartment buildings won’t charge anyone to use the lockers.
“We want our resident’s lives to be simplified,” he said. “Time is the most precious commodity. If we can give any of that back to them, I think we’ll be doing well.”
And with that of course, Amazon scores another branding moment.