The Future of Parcel Delivery?


Packages delivered to apartments can get lost, stolen, or dropped in front of the wrong door. Amazon plans to change this with their new system of parcel storage lockers called Amazon Hub.

According to Amazon, the Hub is for apartment residents. They can be either indoor or outdoor, with the smallest hub locker being 6 feet wide with over 20 compartments. Packages are delivered and stored in one of the locked compartments/boxes. Residents then unlock the box with their package in it using a unique code typed into an attached touchscreen. Amazon is billing the Hub as self-service delivery, and residents can retrieve their packages 24/7.  

According to Amazon, all delivery services–like USPS, FedEx, UPS– can use Hubs to deliver packages. Amazon could send users unlock codes for these non-Amazon deliveries through e-mail or the Amazon mobile app.

Amazon has already started the self-service delivery trend with Amazon Lockers. Amazon Lockers allow customers to send shipments to a locker location, with many locations throughout the U.S. Not all locker locations are open 24-hours, limiting users’ ability to pick up or drop off packages.


Delivering orders to lockers rather than individual homes improves security to stop thefts, according to Amazon. “Building on Amazon’s expertise in locker solutions, the Hub addresses frustrations from property owners, carriers, and residents concerning package delivery,” said Patrick Supanc, director of Amazon Worldwide Lockers and Pickup


But this system also has benefits for Amazon. The Hub could create savings for Amazon “by allowing parcel carriers to reach more customers in each trip”, said Jeff Smith, a professor of Supply Chain Management and Analytics at Virginia Commonwealth University. It will save Amazon and the delivery person time and energy by enabling a “single drop point which will allow the delivery person to service each one of those locations in a much more efficient manner,” said Smith.


The Hub is similar to other strategies for improving efficiency in mail delivery–like banks of common U.S. Postal Service mailboxes for apartments or houses on dead-end streets.




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