Amazon can read your soul. I’m certain of that because everytime I land on its homepage it offers me exactly what I’d like to buy. That makes Amazon a kind of superhero, or maybe a very cool villain. To add another superpower to its already wide array of talents now Amazon has x-ray vision too.
Yes, you read it right: x-ray vision. Meaning it can see inside your parcel. It’s very simple indeed: all it takes is a camera on your phone, Amazon iOS app and a barcode. You, the online shopper, just have to open the app, select the camera icon on the right of the search bar, then the new feature “Package X-Ray” and scan the barcode on the package that the driver just handled to you. Naturally it works only on your personal orders.
Why would you do that? For a lot of reasons. First of all: if you make a number of orders on Amazon’s webstore there’s a good chance they’ll get to you one by one at different times. Apparently they don’t know what consolidation, or “traffic jam”, means. Maybe it’s not just your stuff, but there’s something for an internet-illiterate relative, for your lazy sister who sneakingly uses your account, for a friend who’s never at home and has his parcels sent to you. Maybe, now that Christmas is at the door, you ordered a lot of shrinkwrapped gifts and lost count of which is for who.
It’s a simple innovation and yet, as most of the things Amazon does, really smart, especially for serial-shoppers (and there’s plenty of them). Not only for them, to say the truth: it could be a godsend even for some last-mile startups that handle the last-mile, offering those rare and mighty precious options that Amazon still can’t afford.
Example: here at Milkman, through our mobile app (for iOS and Android), we are enthusiastic promoters of consolidation, a concept our users have embraced with incredible enthusiasm. Not everyone is in a rush: most shoppers are happy to wait for their weekly or monthly parcels to arrive at Milkman’s warehouse and then placing their date and time-window driven delivery appointment. By doing so they save money and help decongest traffic and pollution.
Quite often, though, they contact us asking details about the parcels we have in stock. That happens despite the fact that we send pictures of them as soon as they reach us. Now, at least with Amazon’s ones, we can send a photo of the barcode and the user can scan it and decide if he wants to wait or if he wants it right away (we do same-day too). Brilliant. A very fine example of customer-centric usability and visibility for the last leg of the supply chain.