Differences in Shipping Methods on Amazon: Options and Innovations

Amazon, a pioneer in its industry, offers a host of incredible shipping options and innovations of which you may not be aware (I certainly wasn’t!)…

First, let’s address the Secure Delivery with a One-time Password option. This Amazon delivery choice ensures that customers receive a one-time password via email after an item has shipped, adding yet another layer of security for packages. This one-time password is a six-digit numeric code which is valid until the end of the day and is required to be entered into the delivery driver’s device in order for that driver to have permission to hand over the package. This password can also be found by clicking on the “Track Package” button under “Your Orders”. Due to the value of certain items, a signature may be required upon delivery for some items.

Then there is Release Date Delivery, an Amazon shipping method where pre-ordered items are scheduled for delivery on the date of their release. Shipping charges for Release Date Delivery vary by item and are displayed on the “Order Confirmation” page. However, Release Date Delivery is free to Amazon Prime members and on qualified two-day shipping.

Shipping large and/or bulky items through Amazon is supported by a specialized shipping and delivery handling network. This Amazon shipping option allows for choosing a delivery date, and where exactly customers would like the package placed when it is delivered – such as the porch, entryway, etc.

Same Day Delivery through Amazon is free to Amazon Prime members if an item is ordered before the cut-off time (with certain limited availability) and available at various rates in select zip codes to other Amazon customers. Plus, orders over $25 on certain eligible items qualify for free shipping even if Amazon customers are not Amazon Prime members.

Now, we’re going to go a little crazy! Key by Amazon is a delivery service option that delivers packages to cars (yes, cars) and is free for eligible items and offered exclusively for Amazon Prime members in select cities. This unique Amazon fulfillment service allows customers with certain types of cars that are parked in an open, street level, publicly accessible area to receive package delivery inside their car. Large, heavy items, as well as items fulfilled by a third party seller and those requiring a signature are excluded.

Okay, so let’s take this key thing a step further! The Key by Amazon Smart Lock Kit allows for Amazon packages to be delivered inside the home. The Smart Lock kit allows for keyless entry for home delivery and includes a Smart Lock deadbolt, home maintenance camera and a special app that enables customers to remotely unlock their door, manage guest access and watch delivery. With this innovative Amazon delivery service, customers receive a four-hour window delivery notification on the day of delivery. Right before delivery, customers will receive an “Arriving Now” notification and will be able to watch their delivery live! The driver first knocks on the door and then will request to unlock the customer’s door via an Amazon handheld scanner.

The Key by Amazon Smart Garage Kit works much the same way, by enabling the monitoring and control of a customer’s garage for in-garage delivery. Smart Garage kits are compatible with most garage door openers and allow for control of home delivery with remote monitoring of garage doors and entry and exit viewing capabilities.

That Amazon Smart Kit stuff would be amazing enough on its own, but there is also another out-of-the-box Amazon delivery solution, called the Amazon Hub Locker. The Amazon Hub Locker provides a self-serve delivery location where Amazon customers can pick up their Amazon.com packages, as well as orders purchased from other retailers. Locker locations can be found when selecting a shipping address during the check-out process or when adding a new address in “Your Account” and it works this way. Once a package is delivered, customers receive a pick-up code to be entered and instructions to be followed. There are also secure Amazon Apartment Locker locations available in many apartment buildings throughout the United States. 

Finally, Amazon is even testing what it calls Amazon Scout – a small device that moves along sidewalks at a walking pace and is equipped with a camera and sensor data for route planning and navigation! Now that’s some sci-fi stuff!