Most kids can tell the difference between a present from the North Pole and a package from Amazon—but with Covid-19 cases on the rise again, parents are more likely to forego in-store shopping in favor of ordering gifts online this year. To offer the convenience of online shopping without compromising the magic of gift-giving, Amazon is touting its “spoiler-free” solutions.
To help keep presents confidential, customers can now opt for a more specific delivery window (within two to four hours) and visual confirmation through the Photo on Delivery feature. Shoppers can also consolidate purchases into one box, instruct drivers to leave packages in the driveway via its Amazon Key service, which has facilitated in-home deliveries since 2017, and stop their Alexa-enabled devices from spilling the beans. And for those who prefer pickup, customers can send their gifts to any physical Amazon store.
Business is booming for Amazon this year, and the ecommerce giant is aiming to position itself as a one-stop holiday shop by boosting its delivery capabilities. Several of the features rolled out in recent months have been added as options at checkout such as Map Tracking, which shows customers the progress of their delivery in real time and any additional stops along the way, even enabling them to meet drivers at the door; and Share Tracking, which lets people share tracking info to friends and family.
According to John Felton, vice president of Amazon’s Global Delivery Service, the strategy for creating a positive shopping experience during the pandemic is focused on granting customers as many options as possible.
“We’re helping customers keep their orders a surprise this year and have a number of ways we’re providing them more flexibility, control and convenience over their deliveries—whether that’s ordering to an alternative pickup location, tracking their package en route to their home or consolidating their deliveries to a single day so they can plan ahead,” he said in a statement.
Uncertainty has been a challenge for every business during the pandemic, and despite hiring roughly 350,000 employees in logistics in the second half of the year, not even Amazon can guarantee there won’t be holiday delivery hiccups. In its Q3 earnings call, CFO Brian Olsavsky said October’s two-day Prime Day event was a good stress test, and the platform was “[feeling] good about the performance of the network,” but he nevertheless encouraged consumers to order early this year.
Amazon has also upped its holiday marketing efforts this year, encouraging customers to embrace the opportunity that comes with this year’s untraditional giving season by releasing heartfelt holiday ads and recruiting Oprah to support Black-owned businesses.