Amazon is partnering with automotive manufacturers to meet the needs of the on-demand consumer.

On April 24, Amazon launched Amazon Key In-Car Delivery for Prime members. Through the service, Prime members may get Amazon packages delivered to their vehicles parked at home, at work, or near other locations designated in the customer’s address book. The service is available to Prime members in select cities and with participating vehicles.

Amazon Key In-Car Delivery is the latest Amazon offering designed to deliver packages to customers who are unable to be physically present when delivery occurs – thus removing yet another layer of friction from Amazon’s delivery process. The service is an extension of Amazon Key, which Amazon launched in October 2017 to make it possible for customers to have Amazon employees open the doors to customers’ homes and drop packages inside, thus lessening the chance that packages might be lost or stolen when customers are away from their homes.

The in-car delivery service is limited to Volvo and GM car owners with model years 2015 and newer who are subscribers of the online concierge services, Volvo On Call and OnStar. (You can check whether cars in your inventory quality by visiting this link.)

Qualifying car owners need to download the Amazon Key app and select an eligible address for delivery and specify in-car drop-off at checkout. Amazon will notify the customer of the expected delivery time window, and the customer then needs to park their car within two blocks of the specified address.

According to the Amazon website, “Amazon will authorize the delivery driver before your vehicle is unlocked. No special access or keys are given to the driver. We will let you know you when your package is delivered and vehicle is relocked.” In addition, Amazon will attempt to secure the package in the car’s trunk unless the package does not fit in the trunk.

Amazon Key In-Car Delivery underscores two realities:

  • Retailing, online and offline, continues to adapt to the wants and needs of the on-demand consumer. Customers have demonstrated time and again that they will respond to businesses that remove friction from shopping for products and services, as the rise of ride-sharing services have demonstrated. Auto dealerships are feeling the same pressure to simplify the customer journey for shoppers, such as digitizing the finance paperwork or relying on third-party sites to help customers narrow their purchases before they enter the lot.
  • Amazon is a two-edged sword. It’s no secret that Amazon may encroach upon dealerships’ turf. At the same time, innovations such as Amazon In-Car Delivery show how Amazon can partner with automotive manufacturers to make the core product, the vehicle, more attractive to shoppers.

Your dealership should be ready to address questions from customers who are curious to know if your inventory qualifies for Amazon Key In-Car Delivery. Customers may not be aware that the service is available exclusively to Prime members and is limited (for now) to participating Volvo and GM vehicles. Customers who do qualify may want to know how the service works. You can position your salespeople as expert consultants by getting informed about Amazon Key In-Car Delivery and demonstrating your knowledge.

If you’ve determined that your inventory qualifies, you might want to let your customers know about the service and the fact that your vehicles qualify for Amazon Prime members. You might as well put Amazon to work for you. Meanwhile, follow our blog for industry updates such as this one and spend time on the Amazon site learning about the service.