Amazon Expands In-Car Delivery to Compete With Brick-and-Mortar Retailers

More cars and cities added to Amazon Key mean more convenience for holiday shoppers

A man taking an Amazon package out of the back of his car
Amazon Prime members can take advantage of in-car delivery during the holiday season. Amazon
Headshot of Lisa Lacy

It’s not quite as convenient as a guy who shimmies down chimneys and leaves packages under trees, but it’s close: Amazon will deliver orders directly to Prime members’ cars this holiday season.

In-car delivery is now available in 50 U.S. cities through its Key by Amazon service, which also facilitates deliveries within customers’ homes and garages.

Amazon first launched in-car delivery about a year and a half ago for Prime members with compatible vehicles from Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac and Volvo. It has since added Ford to the list.

While in-car delivery was available for the holidays last year, this is the first year Amazon is really touting it as a fulfillment option. (Volvo has offered in-car deliveries in Sweden and Switzerland since 2015.)

To receive in-car deliveries, U.S. Prime members must download the Amazon Key app and link it with their connected car service accounts. On delivery day, the app allows customers to check if they’ve parked within range of the delivery location and provides notifications like when the package is en route and when it has been delivered.

Amazon announced in-home delivery via Amazon Key in 2017. It expanded to garages earlier this year.

Additional Amazon pickup sites in the U.S. include lockers in more than 900 locations, including Whole Foods stores, and thousands of so-called Hub Counter partner locations such as Rite Aid and GNC stores.

Amazon said more than 10 million items are eligible for free one-day delivery and “millions of items” are available for same-day delivery in “46 major metropolitan areas.”

These fulfillment options not only help keep orders “away from the elements or hidden from snooping family members,” they’re also better for the environment because packages from local fulfillment centers “travel shorter distances and generate the least carbon emissions,” Amazon said.

Last holiday season, Amazon offered free shipping with no minimum purchase for all U.S. customers for a limited time. But each year, retailers strive to do more to surprise and delight shoppers. This year, the theme seems to be same-day fulfillment.

Walmart, for example, is offering free next-day delivery on “hundreds of thousands of eligible items” in addition to same-day pickup for online orders and groceries, plus free two-day shipping. It also offers an in-home delivery option, including in-kitchen and in-garage delivery in Pittsburgh, Pa., Kansas City, Mo., Kansas City, Kan., and Vero Beach, Fla.

Meanwhile, Target offers a same-day pickup service in all 50 states. Similar to Amazon’s in-car delivery, customers place orders through the Target app and “have their items brought to their car, with most orders ready within an hour and brought out in less than two minutes upon arrival,” a Target spokesperson said.

@lisalacy Lisa Lacy is a senior writer at Adweek, where she focuses on retail and the growing reach of Amazon.