Still, those were terrible ideas. FedEx, USPS, and UPS all just dropped the boxes off on our door. The others made us use those machines. It wasn't too bad to go down and get the packages. Oh wait, then you forgot your phone and had to go all the way back up to get it to get the unlock codes off of your email. Then you had to be certain that your email would not send the code email into spam, so that sucked.
But if you were out of town or on vacation or just stressed from work or had a spam email mis-identification then it was a spawn worse than Satan. The system started to charge you, like 5$/day or something, for non-picked-up packages after like day 3. Guess who got a nasty surcharge after spending a month away for work and no email to tell me that things would get surcharged? Yeah, 150$ for some random thing my sister sent me unannounced was not a lot of fun.
And no, the apt complex signed onto this AFTER we moved in and with no notice on the lease or an update to us. I did get the complex to pay that crazy fee after storming in one morning and yelling a lot. Idiots.
As long as there is no charge for packages that don't get picked up and no 'max time' it can sit in a robo-bin, these things work great. If there is any charge at all, in any way whatsoever, avoid them like the plague, they are horrible.
I'd much prefer having a machine on my property as a backup if I'm not home!
Your inconvenience of forgetting your wallet seems minor by comparison when you can just go upstairs, imagine forgetting it after driving and waiting in line... that really is the only alternative isn't it besides the old school "dumb" parcel boxes?
Your inconvenience of not knowing it was there and getting charged was the fault of your landlord, who rightfully paid the fee for you. It wasn't the fault of the box design per-se - but obviously something to be aware of.*
Your inconvenience of spam filtering is probably less likely with an amazon based email system.
I'm happy to see these becoming a widespread thing and being pushed to residential property owners. It even seems superior to the typical package boxes in most new apartment buildings or suburbs as it comes with email/mobile notifications (typical package tracking is far too often less than accurate)!
The only thing better than a machine here is a human concierge who signs for them and calls you if you don't pick it up with your mail. They're paid to be nice to you and are rarely busy.
* Maybe Amazon should make sure to tell new owners to thoroughly notify every tenant before using it - with signs saying it will be installed in x weeks and letters left on your door.
So in the past couple of months, I have RMA'd two items, returned one due to bad fulfillment, returned one more because I didn't like what I bought (and that got lost). Of all the items I ordered, one got lost or stolen, two more I had to pick up at the local PO which cost me a total of ~20USD in taxi fares (and several hours wasted waiting in line), one I had to pick up in the central depot which cost me 50USD in taxi fares just for that day (and again, several hours wasted).
Only one of those packages had free delivery because they all have to hop between the US, China, Denmark, Germany and who knows where else. (The only one I got free delivery on was a CODE keyboard, which costs $250 in Europe, vs. $130 in USA). So I'm actually paying for this ostensibly terrible service.
So I'm looking at the hub and I just think "Wow, that solves a lot of problems outside the US".
And it's US only.
Of course it is.
There are already competitors operating here in Canada doing this stuff fortunately. I believe Amazon acquired one of them which turned into this [nm, see edit]. That should hopefully pressure Amazon to expand and this will offer tons of free advertising for those smaller companies competing.
Edit: turns out it was Buffer Box and they were acquired by Google and (of course) shut down https://www.wikiwand.com/en/BufferBox
InPost is another one with boxes all over Europe. They recently shut down in my city though :/ (Toronto). But otherwise it looks pretty like they have extensive deployment: https://inpost24.com/
Germany has DHL Packstation: https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Packstation
Also two startups: https://wefunder.com/swapbox and http://www.ucella.com/
Also, not in a ton of locations.
The post office will give you a forwarding address (for regular mail) that will end up in the locker of your choosing, but you then have to pay €x/package, and the lockers are usually at post offices, so it's not really worth it.
If they could somehow have the postal service and couriers able to post things to InPost boxes, it'd be far more useful - but I suspect there's some really complicated contractual stuff that prevents that.
Your parcel get just delivered to your local NewsAgent, which in the UK generally has extensive opening times. Supported directly by Amazon and a bunch of retailer, but delivery companies use the same system (DPD, EPS).
For those who may not know, Canada's national postal service is the largest parcel carrier in Canada.
SMSes get sent to you as notification, and you have 3-4 days to pick it up. After that (and a second notification), it gets sent to your local post office and a delivery note is sent to your house.
No charges yet for the service, though they have been toying with the idea ever since it launched a few years ago. No charges for packages not getting delivered either.
I think that in densely built European cities robo delivery is a much more promising technology. The first trials are already ongoing here . Putting in the hubs may not make sense if the target audience doesn't want delivery vans in a few years time.
There is a low-tech solution for this already..you have normal package lockers near the mailroom which have keys. Your package is put in a locker, and the corresponding key is put into your mailbox.
Seems way easier and the only way this is better is if the touchscreen system works for signature required packages, allowing them to be dropped off without you
There are plenty of other properties that could utilize this too such as multi-tenant office buildings and plenty of other non-apartment building use cases.
It also productizes these boxes so they can buy one of these instead of setting of a mail center and doing the subsequent maintenance (ie: cutting keys, replacing lost ones, etc). And it notifies the people by email/mobile which makes it a nice value add-on for property owners to sell with the property.
How would that work with multiple delivery services? A FedEx or UPS worker, for instance, cannot legally put a package locker key into a USPS mailbox (and usually, in apartment mailbox banks, cannot even physically do so even if they are willing to ignore the law).
Alternatively: put in boxes not owned by the usps, and use combination locks. The "special delivery instructions" box on every order form on earth already supports this.
The main problems with outdoor lock boxes are moisture and heat. The main problem with indoor ones is that you need a mail room, and they tend to be shared.
I don't see how this new product helps in most circumstances. I guess it could be useful in high crime urban settings, but mail lock boxes are already common there.
OnTrac has taken over most Amazon deliveries at this apartment. They don't know the door code to get in (ups/FedEx/usps do). So, they leave packages by the exterior door. Usually the wrong one.
Mailman puts the package in the mailbox which has a keypad and low-tech 1980's calculator style 1 line display.
He put package in locker. It generates and displays a pin-code, he write it down on a slip of paper with the locker number and puts it in your mailbox.
Works very well.
(I think he has to swipe a card to allow him to lock the thing in the first place. To stop random people using it).
The low-tech thing has its downsides: the other day the delivery guy wrote down the wrong code so I had to wait for the building manager to open it.
That said, I agree that it works very well. And I think it's a somewhat recent innovation. Apart from my current apartment none of the places I've lived here (10+ years) had lockers.
(I have been using the AusPost ones and I'm having more luck than I used to).
Seriously - if AusPost don't want to accept a delivery they won't even let you know, it's just returned to sender.
Again, I think they are nice enough most of the time, but the 'edge' cases make them a no-go for me.
> Oh wait, then you forgot your phone and had to go all the way back up to get it to get the unlock codes off of your email. Then you had to be certain that your email would not send the code email into spam, so that sucked.
Those are just one time things. You will forget first or second time but third time your brain will ring a bell "get your phone". Adding that email into trusted contacts is also a one time thing.
My building also has this setup but from different company. First three days are free. There is a website to manager locker settings. You can specify your away days then your packages will be dropped at leasing office.
This idea was also pitched at SharkTank and got funding.
Yeah, what a weird argument. Oh no, I have to grab my phone and can't just saunter downstairs in my unmentionables and nothing else.
Delivery lockers are a minor inconvenience, but it certainly was not a positive change... paper cuts add up.
I have no idea what a trusted contact is in email.
Also, our rentors never told us about this nonsense, they just appeared. So, trying to think up, de-novo, that these would have some website attached to them was too far-fetched for me, let alone many of my former neighbors.
You know SharkTank is highly staged and this is an Amazon thingy now, right?: https://www.forbes.com/sites/emilycanal/2016/10/21/about-72-...
I can hardly remember the last time I went somewhere without my phone.
But if my mailbox requires me to have my phone, I'd bring it along. I don't see the problem.
Both myself and everyone I know have their phones on them 24/7, and next to their bed when they sleep.
How come you don't forget the keys then? This phone thing is such a non-issue. You could even memorize the code when you get the mail and won't need the phone at all after that.
Like it takes two seconds in the app or you can block all notifications from that app by long pressing the notification.
Really not that hard to get rid of the spam.
Since this is a multi-access digital mailbox this can handle more complex workflows a typical mailbox cannot. For example the code can be changed remotely so your access can be revoked (for cancelled orders maybe) or the delivery person re-open the box to pick up a package you dropped off in there for return.
This also opens up potential for further innovations here like RFID or bar-code scanners inside the hubs to mitigate wrong deliveries.
> Yeah, 150$ for some random thing my sister sent me unannounced was not a lot of fun.
That's unfortunate and maybe they ought to allow you to monitor and avoid charges using your app. However, whenever you have a shared and limited resources, charging for overages is not only inevitable but necessary. Otherwise someone who has a holiday home in London can order packages all year around and block the hub until his next visit.
Where Amazon seems to be going with this is improving the state of last mile mail logistics. The logistics are also sensible. Typically it will take a van at least an hour to cover a dozen drops at 5 minutes per drop. This is a real cost -- a cost that the consumer eventually bears. With a sharper focus on the hub model, a delivery van now needs to make a single drop for dozens of packages. These cost savings can be passed on to the consumer.
My issue was that many of the other companies were doing the 'normal' thing even through the time I was at the place that had the robo-lockers. Like, why make me take the extra steps (literally) to endure yet another middle-man that is just trying to gank me when I screw up? It made no sense and I didn't sign up for it at all, nor did they tell me about any apps or web-sites, just some random email stuff that got sorted into spam a lot.
Also, I don't really think ol' Jeff is gonna pass those savings on to us. Why would he? Dude is now crazy rich, and he did not get that way by passing savings on to customers. He got that way by providing a competing service for maybe 1 penny less than the other guy even though he could have done it for a dollar less. And yes, that is a heck of a debate to get mucked into, but suffice to say, Jeff is not trying to do us favors, he's trying to stay filthy rich.
What you mean is that this isn't opt-in? All your packets potentially go there without you explicitly asking for it?
Wow, the very definition of 1st world problems right there :D
Who forgets their phone these days? And even then, you can memorize the 4 digit code.
We have these things and they work great.
And yeah, I forget my phone all the time. To me, the phone is something I use, not something that I need or that others need me to have. On the weekends, I maybe check it twice if I'm not hiking or something, it just sits there charging otherwise.
Just get the Amazon implant to authentify yourself (coming soon)... or just scream something next to the hub and the echo located in your bedroom will give you access using your voice's unique signature.
Why is nobody talking about the most important point? THIS is the most important point. $5 a day is a LOT of money and I am outraged. Is everyone here financially independent or something? I have agonized over buying a used desktop/laptop computer for months and that purchase is well under $200.
None of the rest of the story matters. What matters at the end of the day is the money. Are you guys paying attention to where your money is going?
If I was in charge, changing the terms of rental like this would be a criminal offense and the management would be in prison for years.
UPS and FedEx cannot legally open your mailbox, either, even if it doesn't have a lock.
The issue with lockers filling up too quickly or packages sitting in them too long is handled by the shipping company, which has sufficiently good customer service to contact me about re-delivering items that aren't reaching me. Also, my neighbors would be mortified if their deliveries ever inconvenienced someone else in the building, so it's somewhat self-policing in that sense.
The amount of over-engineering that goes into overcoming the shortcomings of customer service and lack of basic etiquette in America is amusing and sad. Amazon seems to be an emerging leader in finding solutions for social breakdowns that could be easily solved if people cared more about doing a good job or about extending basic courtesies to their fellow citizens.
Around where I live bikes are just locked with ring locks that go through the spokes of the back wheel (in other countries that would get your bike lifted into the back of a truck in days).
This also makes retail a lot nicer since you don't get those crazy un-openable blister packs you see in the west. Most packaging is just held together with a single piece of tape for easy opening. Amazon's "frustration-free packaging" is actually more difficult to open than most of the retail electronics packaging you have here.
This just to remind you that the US is huge, consists of 50 states and in most cases the states are very different from each others.
I'm not even an american and I'm offended about the generalization.
This is the crux of the issue. US companies don't want to have good customer service. They want to charge you for every single piece of customer service above the absolute minimum.
Worked for me after a string of delivery errors; I haven't had a problem since.
From what I understand, the Amazon delivery man is a contractor. They get pressured by Amazon's dispatchers into cranking out deliveries. I wonder if you could report this as goods that are damaged -- they likely have metrics that will count against that specific delivery contractor.
Obviously, I contacted them to complain about that second one; I'm pretty sure they're aware that it's a problem. Knowing you have a problem doesn't mean you can quickly fix it.
They've had this for a while and they're even building their own cargo airline.
I saw one apartment complex this year that had a twist on the package robot concept -- there's an iPad at the door of the mail room, and you type in the code from your package, the iPad takes your photo and then unlocks the mail room door using a solenoid.
The UPS guy? Scans the barcodes on the packages, then wheels them in and drops them off on cheap metal shelves inside -- no need to pay an employee to manage the mail room 24/7. More residents/packages? Just buy a few more shelves. Resident wants to pick up a package as soon as Amazon buzzes them? No problem. Resident wants to pick up at 2am? Great.
The only problem is you have to trust your neighbors to not steal your packages.
Then again, we have no signature required, and regularly have packages sitting on our front porch for a day or so and haven't had anything go missing.
Maybe your standards for "very secure" and "trustworthy" are extremely low.
The first one, if a package was dropped off in the lobby, the driver might as well deliver it directly into the garbage. I usually got things shipped to work, even if they were large and a hassle to get home.
The second one, our current one, all of the neighbors completely trust each other, and it's never been an issue. I ship most things home, now.
The difference is partially neighborhood (low-rent Brooklyn vs. Upper West Side), partially building size (200 units vs. 20), and partially who lives there (renters and month-to-monthers, vs. mostly condo owners.)
It was mostly nice, but where I lived there were issues with execution of the idea. At peak times (holidays) the package robot would get full, because people wouldn't pick up their stuff in a timely manner.
The package robot also had to be loaded by an employee of the building... until then the package hung out in the mail room like normal, but you could only get your package from the package robot... so if the package showed up and no one was around to load the robot, or was slacking off on loading the robot, it actually took longer to get your stuff.
When it worked, however, it was good to be able to pick up your package when you got home from work at midnight without having to talk to anyone or sign anything. Also getting notified via email that you had something waiting was nice.
established 2006, helped bring down the cost of deliveries at the same time improved convenience of online shopping when DHL,etc. always wanted to come to your flat when you were at work
They try to deliver to home, but if there is noone there, they leave a note, and I have 14 days to receive items on nearest post office (same walk distance as Paczkomat, open 8am-8pm + Saturday). Plenty of time for me (or roommate!) to get all packages that arrived to house. Just one person in household can go every 2 weeks and collect dozen packages and letters.
In Paczkomat, item is returned to sender after 48 hours. With such short time and need for SMS code, no chance that roommate will collect packages for me.
The only advantage of Paczkomat is that you can use it at night.
They've also recently started installing similar machines to apartment buildings (somewhat similar to OP Amazon things I guess).
Cards, very small packets, and letters all get delivered Monday-Friday, but parcels? They leave a card and you have to take it to your local post-office to collect your item.
I'd visited Finland a lot prior to moving, but of course this is the kind of thing you don't realize until you've relocated "for real". In the past I used to do a lot of online ordering, but since moving I've cut down a lot just because collection of things is a real pain. (Of course it helps that there is no Amazon.fi, instead the choices seem to be Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.de.)
Amazon.co.uk and amazon.de that you mentioned (and some other foreign sites), though, always seem to use to-door services even in Finland. The most common one has been DHL Weltpaket Premium which Posti tries to deliver once by 14:00 (sig.req), after that it goes to post office for pickup. Of course I'm never home at that time.
Amazon.fi redirects to amazon.de nowadays, BTW, which has free shipping to Finland for 39€+ orders.
I like SmartPosti parcel boxes as well, especially how I can select the delivery target that most suits my route and schedule. I usually use one that's close to my work in a mall so I can do some groceries while getting my packages.
Mostly these days I tend to use verkkokauppa and similar "local" shops that can be collected from.
If you fill out the form it asks what kind of property you have, and single family homes is an option, but then it says "your property does not meet our requirements at this time." I wonder if enough people select that though...
This seems more targeted at apartment/condo buildings that have been wrestling with the mountain of Prime packages that show up daily and are either stolen or managed by a building superintendent that doesn't want to deal with them anymore.
1. lockboxes or cut-resistant package containers which are clamped to your apartment door and can be opened with a PIN, such as these https://www.paketbutler.com/ or these https://www.paksafe.de/
2. the DB train network is installing delivery boxes on train stations and subway stations, including refrigerated ones for food deliveries, allowing for pickup on your commute home
3. Smart cars (those tiny city hoppers most Americans seem to hate) can be outfitted with a small module that allows delivery services to access the trunk, turning them into mobile delivery boxes
>There are 3,000 Packstation machines in Germany and 90 percent of the people living in Germany were within ten minutes of a DHL Packstation.
There are also Paketboxen, which are smaller installations for residential areas. The whole system works pretty well for me. The one big downside is, that it only works with DHL/Deutsche Post parcel. They are the dominant player here, but sometimes delivery by them is not available.
And you wonder why he doesn't want to deliver your packages...
It is not like this Amazon box but it does also not have the other things to worry about (packages arriving on holidays and costs surcharged thereafter). The shops get a little extra earnings and they handle sending back etc. When not picked up. The service is free of charge for customers.
I guess Amazon box would be a tad more convenient to go to as they are at your doorstep (every single house is their intention, didn't get the site really?) but to be honest, you are visiting your supermarkets anyway. At least in NL where they are close. US might be a bit different here due to distance? Though you can do other shops as well, and usually there is one within say 1-2km.
Worth noting that Amazon has Amazon Fresh (groceries delivered directly to your door) and just bought Whole Foods Market in the US. So in the future, you might not be visiting a supermarket at all, or if you are, it might be owned by Amazon anyway.
One problem of Amazon Hub v/s LuxerOne is that I don't think Amazon Hub will work with packages from other retailers.
Amusingly, LuxerOne, Parcel Pending and this Amazon thing all seem to be using the same device, so this is either very convergent evolution or there's just one Chinese whitebox manufacturer for these lockers and everyone just slaps their logo on them.
Perhaps these guys:
But anyway the video says "any retailer", so that's not the case.
The video says "any sender" so it could be a private party sending you something as well.
Am I wrong or does their main headline have some serious singular/plural issues?
Not a huge deal, I guess.
Personal deliveries to your doorstep is a pretty luxurious service, if you think about it in abstract. Plus it seems inefficient for these delivery people to go to a bunch of people's houses and drop things off (when people are mostly not home) when we could all just change our daily commutes slightly when we need to.
Or even just more no-human-needed deposit lockers like Amazon hub.
I definitely understand how this works less well in the current reality. Though you can do local reorganization of this (for example you have deposit lockers for an entire neighborhood in a specific part that is easy to access for everyone, and now the mail delivery takes only 30 minutes or so instead of 6 hours).
Regulations say 82%+ of Finnish population needs to be within 3 km (1.9 mi) and 97%+ within 10 km (6.2 mi) of a postal outlet.
Not to mention you'd get huge push back from retailers (more hassle -> less orders) and users (how do I collect large items / I don't commute / PO is closed / PO is not in a convenient place etc.).
At least in Japan, there's extreme turnover among these delivery people at the last mile that would go away.
I agree that it's not clear-cut, but to me it feels wasteful, at least in densely urban areas where 24 hour pickup windows at the PO/ "pickup-only" places are reasonable.
And for people at the margins (for example, people who have difficulty moving), you could imagine having the "direct to home" delivery service still existing, but no longer being the default. Not sure how you would know you have something though....
Personally, I get "useful" mail about once a week. I'm never home when deliveries happen (though I have a delivery box in my apartment entrance, I used to always have to pick it up later). So almost every package I would get delivered would _always_ go from the delivery center to my home, then back again.
It should be everywhere, but i guess in the states population density is too low in many places.
All domestic delivery companies (Kuro Neko, Sagawa, etc) will drop into them without a second thought. FedEx are a bit more annoying that you have to call ahead and authorize them to use a bin, but that's ok.
I only have trouble with some things through Japan Post where a signature or ID is required, which is annoying but understandable when they are delivering something like a credit card.
The mail deliverers put a package in, lock it with the key in the door, then put that key in my mail box, so I know to go get the package out. It's brutally simple, and I was surprised I've not seen an implementation like this before.
Coming soon, from the same company that brought you the ability to buy unlimited storage!
They are nice, but it's a bit of a trade-off: 50% chance there is an empty opening in the station, 50% chance it's full and they dump the packet at some service center miles away where you stand in line for half an hour and get your package late.
And don't get me started on their new "Wunschpaket" service for redirecting deliveries in transit...
I ordered some PC parts to an Amazon Locker and got my Amazon account suspended indefinitely. I can't log in to it. But they didn't block the other half of the order that didn't make any sense to get (a case).
They asked my ccard billings via fax (shrug). After struggling with my hotel's terrible computer and fax I managed to send it to them. No answer. I asked and only then they responded in a short email it was not legible. Terrible support.
Also the delivery of the case was delayed several days so I lost it but had to pay for it anyway.
They managed to make me never buy from Amazon again. My account was over 10 years old. Had problems with deliveries a year ago, too. (that was why this time I tried an Amazon Locker)
Why don't they just leave it in vestibule or on my doorstep? Thieves. All delivery carriers just plain refuse to leave packages unattended.
This solution is basically an Amazon locker or PO Box that lives in my lobby? Sounds awesome. Amazon Hub might not make sense in rural areas but Amazon's biggest target lives in urban areas. I'm so ready for this.
Today's too early though, since IoT (eg. a connected doorlock) seems untrustworthy. What are some solutions that could be used to approximate it, I wonder?