Parents quickly grow skilled in hiding holiday presents from curious kids, using everything from high closet shelves to neighbors’ garages. But this year, with many gift recipients remaining in the house due to remote schooling and work-from-home orders, keeping presents under wraps has become yet another COVID-related challenge.
Amazon has added several new customer-facing delivery features designed to improve the odds that a gift will actually surprise the giftee, including:
- Amazon Map Tracking allows shoppers to view their delivery’s progress on a map in real time when the driver is close, and enables them to see the remaining number of stops the driver has before the delivery arrives;
- Amazon Share Tracking allows shoppers to send tracking information to friends and family so they know when to expect their package and bring the delivery indoors;
- Amazon Photo-On-Delivery provides visual delivery confirmation, showing customers that their package was delivered and where it was placed by the driver, helping customers who want to minimize the amount of time a package is left unattended; and
- Amazon Estimated Delivery Window offers a two- to four-hour estimated delivery window.
In the U.S., these features are available for packages delivered by Amazon, and they are accessible from the Amazon app by enabling shipment notifications.
Amazon Prime members in the U.S. also can use Amazon Day, which consolidates all their order deliveries to on day of the week, often in fewer boxes. This both reduces the number of packages and deliveries made and simplifies protecting holiday surprises.
For shoppers concerned about weather damage to their orders, Key by Amazon allows eligible Prime members with a myQ smart garage door opener to select Key In-Garage Delivery. The service is available to Prime members in more than 4,000 cities and towns across the U.S.
Prime members also can choose delivery to an alternate location. A network of contactless package pickup options provided via Amazon Hub offers customers either an attended or unattended experience in neighborhoods, cities and college campuses in 900 U.S. markets.
Additionally, Alexa can hide the names of items that might be gifts, even if a customer asks “Where’s my stuff?” or checks delivery updates/notifications. Customers can mark an item as a gift during checkout to prevent Alexa from blabbing the items’ names.
“This year many customers and their families are opting to stay home, so the challenge of keeping those special gifts under wraps from family, friends or loved ones is going to be greater than ever,” said John Felton, VP of Amazon Global Delivery Services in a statement. “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.”