Pushing the Envelope: Are Consumers Ready for a New Era of Home Delivery?
It wasn’t long ago that e-commerce and online deliveries made consumers nervous. Is it really safe to share my credit card information online, they wondered. Is my shopping history being tracked?
We’ve come a long way since then, and most of those fears have evaporated with time. However, the online delivery stakes are rising by the day, and new consumer concerns are emerging about the safety and practicality of increasingly invasive delivery options.
And you probably won’t be surprised to learn which company is pushing the envelope: Amazon.com.
In just the last few months, Amazon has made several big announcements about its evolving delivery operations. One-hundred million Prime members; Prime price hike to $119; delivering inside your home, delivering to your car. It’s been a big year for Amazon, and the year is only half way done.
How much do you trust Amazon? Would you let them into your home when you’re not there? Your car? Recently, Amazon announced two new services: deliveries inside your home and car. How far is Amazon willing to push consumer trust? We analyzed online consumer conversation to determine if Amazon has gone too far in how much it expect consumers to trust it.
In this post, we’ll look at the consumer response to some of Amazon’s recent delivery announcements, including:
- voice shopping with Alexa;
- car delivery; and
- in-home delivery.
Alexa, Cancel That Order
A few years ago, Amazon introduced Alexa, a smart home device that you can talk to, shop with, get information from, pretty much anything you want, simply by calling out, “Hey Alexa …” Although Alexa can accomplish many things, voice-assisted online shopping has always been part of the menu.
But do people trust Alexa? Is she always listening to you? Consumer conversations online and on social media show that, for the most part, people trust Alexa. Sixty-two percent of the conversation around Alexa is joyful, with people happy about her abilities.
However, the consumer conversation about Alexa isn’t all positive. There's significant fear expressed about Alexa’s “always on” ears, her direct link to consumers’ financial information, and the growing potential for unintended shopping sprees.
@JoeTalkShow Joe she is absolutely right the app listens to you. Think about Alexa, in order for it to know when you say "Alexa" it has to be listening to you all the time … now think about the fact that the C.I.A has a $600,000,000 contract with Amazon.
— Shadow Ben (@BenUnDebatable) March 13, 2018
Most of the anger is derived from Alexa not hearing the user correctly or not providing the correct information, even a spout of laughter out of nowhere. But overall, people trust Amazon with a listening device given that Alexa’s uses offer a significant amount of convenience.
And consumer convenience is, of course, Amazon’s North Star. As consumers have adapted to having a voice-activated e-commerce assistant in their living rooms, Amazon has set its sights on even more disruptive home delivery techniques.
Are consumers on board?
Amazon wants to deliver to its customers’ cars, which means they want to be able to unlock your car and have access to its GPS location. How do consumers feel about it? Not positively.
It turns out Amazon customers don’t trust the tech giant as much as its executives think they do. Not only was the sentiment overwhelmingly angry, but consumers think the service is like handing your car keys to a car thief.
Amazon Key, entering the trunk of your car to deliver your order while you're not around. What a great idea for thieves to steal from your car right after a delivery … wonder how high car insurance rates will climb on people who are doing this? #BADIDEA #AMAZONKEY
— Bro (@letsplaythisbro) April 24, 2018
About 90 percent of consumers were angry about this news, and 6 percent fear the service, showing Amazon has misjudged how trustworthy it thinks it is. Many consumers also see it as unnecessary and just another way for Amazon to get more data from you.
Amazon is testing a new way to deliver packages to your car trunk. We are now just one Amazon GPS Bracelet away from the final vision of couriers intercepting us on the street with our packages.
— Aaron Levie (@levie) April 24, 2018
Before Amazon announced delivery options inside your car, the retailer announced that it wanted access to customers’ homes to deliver packages inside. Consumers lashed out at this idea too, with many angry over how invasive Amazon wants to be in its customers’ lives.
Amazon Key is a new service that allows strangers to enter your home, hide in your closet, and kill you in your sleep. Free with Prime!
— Michael Patrick Hicks (@MikeH5856) October 25, 2017
Again, Amazon saw an intensely negative reaction to this announcement, with 84 percent angry about the news.
Amazon could have learned its lesson with the in-home delivery before going public with its plans for car delivery. People don’t want Amazon to invade their lives. Many already see the company as doing so with its personalized product recommendations when you search for a product one time, on Amazon or elsewhere.
Customers aren’t ready to fully trust companies with every aspect of their lives. Consumers don’t want Amazon to have access to their homes and cars, Facebook to have access to their life story data, or Apple to have cameras watching them on their laptops. We trust companies with a lot, but we don’t want them to have access to every piece of information about us imaginable.
Lou Jordano is the chief marketing officer at Crimson Hexagon, an AI-powered consumer insights company for brand managers, marketers, executives, and more.
Related story: Amazon Will Now Deliver Packages to Customers’ Cars