Online retail is very attractive to apartment-dwelling urbanites who may not have a car and whose nearby stores probably charge higher prices than the malls out in the suburbs. But this customer base has always posed a problem for Amazon and its ilk: Where do you leave the packages?
Amazon has previously put communal lockers in retail stores, but unless you live a block or two away from a locker location, there’s no real convenience.
So why not take the same approach that Amazon has taken on some college campuses and put lockers right where its customers actually live? The retail giant is reportedly hard at work installing lockers in large apartment complexes with the hope of having them working by this holiday season.
So far, sources tell The Wall Street Journal, landlords have signed deals that put lockers in buildings that have a total of 850,000 units, meaning that well over a million Americans could be covered by this holiday season. The lockers cost $10,000 to $20,000 to purchase, which is about half the cost of similar systems from companies that aren’t Amazon.
For the companies that manage these properties, the advantages are obvious. Instead of paying workers to deal with and sort packages for hours every day, they delegate that to Amazon, which places other carriers’ packages inside locker spaces too. The lockers are an amenity that some residents will use a lot more often than a pool, which can be used to sell new residents on signing up.
The chief executive of one property management company in Maryland that has around 68,000 units likes the idea, and is starting with lockers in four buildings.
“I think about how much money I spend on my amenity spaces and all of a sudden we were in a situation pre-Amazon hub where we had boxes stacking up,” he told the WSJ.