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Amazon announces a better way to receive packages

Ethan Wolff-Mann
Senior Writer

On Tuesday, Amazon (AMZN) announced its new delivery initiative called “the Hub,” a “delivery solution” for people living in urban spaces.

Similar to a large post-office box, the technology provides an on-premises locker for packages from Amazon and any other sender, helping customers avoid the dreaded “we missed you” notes from carriers or a stolen package.

Amazon’s new Hub offers apartment tenants a locker for packages. (Amazon)

An urban living situation without lobby personnel presents a significant problem for people who are not home during the day to accept packages. For Amazon, a one-stop dropoff for packages also represents potential cost savings.

While this is the first time Amazon has ever commented on the Hub, over 500,000 residents across the country already use these systems, according to the company.

Amazon is marketing this to landlords as a modern amenity, addressing the frustrating problems of packages blocking lobbies and hours of building personnel dealing with the sorting and storage of packages. For tenants, it also adding a layer of convenience.

Residents of a building with a Hub get a notification when a package has arrived, with a code to open the locker the package is in. (Amazon)

“Building on Amazon’s expertise in locker solutions, the Hub addresses frustrations from property owners, carriers and residents concerning package delivery,” Patrick Supanc, director, Amazon Worldwide Lockers and Pickup, said in a press release. “It offers a single, convenient location for package drop-off and gives property managers time and resources back to focus on other priorities.”

According to Amazon, property companies AvalonBay, Fairfield Residential, Pinnacle, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, WinnResidential, and Equity Residential have all participated in the program thus far.

The company also told Yahoo Finance that more and more hubs are installed each month.

A 2017 Wall Street Journal article, reporting on the early stages, noted that the system does not solve the problem for oversized packages that cannot fit in the lockers. The article also noted that the Hub costs between $10,000 and $20,000 to install with no monthly fee. Amazon declined to comment on cost.

Amazon has long experimented with various solutions to the urban last mile, from special lockers where a person can collect a package, up-to-the-block package tracking, a special front-door lock system, and providing customers with photographs of packages discreetly left by carriers.

Ethan Wolff-Mann is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann. Confidential tip line: emann[at]oath.com.