Latch Announces First Unattended Delivery in New York City
Both Amazon and Walmart made the most news when it comes to unattended delivery. Walmart announced their intentions about a month ago, and Amazon made a more advanced splash with its Amazon Key service.
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But the first large-scale unattended delivery operation belongs to Latch and Jet.com. Since Walmart owns Jet.com, it could be said that Walmart beat Amazon to the punch on actually offering a functional service for unattended deliveries.
Latch in their announcement stated the new service is no longer a concept or test, but it now represents the future of eCommerce.
Latch’s unattended delivery focuses on multi-tenant buildings in urban areas. Over time they expect to expand to suburban homes, but no concrete plans were divulged.
So for now, the company is concentrating on signing up more building owners that will offer the service to their tenants.
Latch uses a mix of time sensitive and “permanent” door codes with remote app control to provide access for guests and delivery personnel.
Devices also take pictures of the person entering.
It Was a Long Road to The First Delivery
Latch started out about four years ago working on unattended delivery. Working with consumers, building owners and partners to develop products and best practices to roll out a service that works and is safe.
The company set out to develop a product not based on technology gimmicks, but a system that everyone can use and understand without specialized training.
Implementation had to be simple on all levels, not just for consumers but also building owners and logistics partners.
Latch wanted to remove as many barriers to adoption as possible.
New York City is just beginning. Latch plans to roll out the service beyond NYC, and it feels it has developed an ecosystem that will scale on a national level. No future cities were mentioned, but high density urban cities such as Chicago or Boston with significant multi-tenant residential buildings would make the most sense.
The company is convinced unattended delivery will shift consumer shopping behavior as shoppers become more comfortable with the service.
What About Walmart?
The somewhat perplexing part of this announcement is that Latch is working with Walmart subsidiary Jet.com. When Walmart purchased Jet.com, they touted that Marc Lore, founder of Jet.com, would become President and CEO of Walmart eCommerce U.S. and bring focus to the giant retailers eCommerce strategy.
However, unlike Amazon, which seems to innovate their own service and product offerings, Walmart continues to look at third parties for solutions.
And it appears they are comfortable with even trying competing options for the same answer. Remember, Walmart just over a month ago announced a different partnership with August and Deliv for trialing in-home unattended deliveries.
Walmart has long dabbled with delivery, yet has to form one cohesive strategy. Instead, it appears to be a patchwork of different third-party providers and some trials using Walmart associates for deliveries.
To add to the confusing landscape of delivery solutions, Walmart recently acquired the New York City delivery startup Parcel which developed a system to make deliveries more convenient for NYC residents.
Parcel may not a direct competitor to Latch, but definitely aimed at the same consumer!
Since the primary target for Walmart is Amazon, it begs the question why such a confusion strategy?
The company has the financial resources to put its own service on the map and could use acquisitions to get it done. Certainly, Latch would be available for the right price!
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Richard is co-founder of eSeller365. He has over 17 years of experience on eBay which includes tens of thousands of sales to buyers in over 100 countries and even has experience with eBay’s VeRO program enforcing intellectual property rights for a former employer. And for about two years Richard sold products on Amazon using Amazon FBA in the US.
To “relax” from the daily business grind, for a few weekends a year, he also works for IMSA as a professional race official.