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Could In-Home Package Delivery be the Next Thing to Jump Start E-Commerce?

Soon packages could be delivered inside consumers’ homes while they’re not there, and the possibility—no matter how questionable it sounds right now—might serve to further fuel e-commerce’s already exponential growth.

All manner of everything is getting smarter for consumers—phones, clothing, homes—and with the right technology and a little time spent adjusting to the idea, e-commerce deliveries could get smarter too.

In a pilot project to test the concept of in-home delivery, digital keyless door lock maker August, wanted to know if it would work and if consumers would like the idea.

It did and they did.

One of the biggest reasons consumers don’t order online, according to an article in Fast Company, is that they’re worried about what’s going to happen to their goods, whether they’ll get stolen or rained on or what have you.

“That cognitive load causes people to think twice before ordering online,” August founder and CEO Jason Johnson told Fast Company. “People have to go through machinations to facilitate [their package delivery]. These issues are the number one thing restricting e-commerce shopping.”

So August tapped 76 of its lock owners and gave them a Nestcam that would record video of the deliveries and a keypad that would allow the delivery person to punch in a code and get access to the home. For the duration of the pilot experiment, customers got a total of 250 deliveries and for the most part, feedback from the experiment was highly favorable. Those delivering the packages simply had to punch in the code that was provided in the delivery instructions when the consumer placed the order, and with the camera facing the entrance to the home, the entire process is recorded for the consumer to either watch live or later on.

“The overwhelming response was ‘This is great,’” Johnson told Fast Company. “People were a little nervous, but overwhelmingly, they said, ‘This is how I want everything delivered to my house.”

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Before the pilot, participants had a very negative view of these unsecured deliveries, but afterward, 90 percent said they’d continue accepting deliveries like that if it was available.

The next big hurdle would be getting delivery companies on board, as the in-home deliveries would come with a host of new liabilities to consider. For those retailers who do decide to offer the service, however, it could mean much bigger sales from online orders.

August has already begun a similar pilot with Sears for its Home Services and is in talks with several retailers and delivery providers, though it wouldn’t name which.

“It’s a question of working with those providers to make this something that’s commercialized, with training,” Johnson said to Fast Company. “We’ve already completed trials with some, and some are moving toward commercialization plans.”