- UPS has launched a pilot program to deliver packages inside apartment buildings in New York City using Latch, a smart lock system, according to a press release.
- Through the program, a UPS driver receives credentials to enter apartment buildings that have Latch devices enabled, allowing the driver to deliver packages when residents are not home. UPS will only enter apartment buildings, not individual residents' units.
- UPS started the pilot in Manhattan in March and recently expanded to Brooklyn, with expansion into other markets expected in the future. Latch said 20 million multi-family residential units exist across the U.S.
The last mile has turned into the last few feet, with the logistics industry grappling with how to deliver packages quickly, cheaply and safely.
With a boost in e-commerce has come the risk of "porch pirates" stealing packages left outside of consumers' homes.
To reduce the risk of package theft, many logistics companies have set up locations with lockers where consumers can pick up their parcels outside of working hours. UPS Access Point is one example, and while the lockers are located in "convenient neighborhood location[s]," according to UPS, they don't carry the same convenience as a home delivery.
Retailers, logistics providers and Amazon have tried everything from delivering packages into car trunks to sending groceries right to the fridge, although reaction to these services has been highly polarizing, with some happily enjoying the convenience and others horrified by the idea of strangers entering their home or car.
UPS' partnership with Latch allows the carrier to compete with some of Amazon's last-mile services, including Amazon Key, which allows deliveries directly into a consumer's home, and Hubs, which are delivery lockers installed in condo and apartment complexes.
As logistics providers continue to innovate and find new ways to secure packages, the onus is also on retailers to help prevent package theft. In a survey by Shorr, a packaging solutions company, 61% of respondents said online retailers aren't doing enough to prevent package theft. At the same time, 58% said shipping companies are holding up their end of the deal and doing what they can to prevent thefts.
Many of the survey respondents said branded packaging makes parcels more appealing to "porch pirates," and retailers could ship goods in more discreet packaging to mitigate that risk.