Clark Howard

Nearly 1 million landlords across the country are getting a new tenant — Amazon!

With the holidays just around the corner, package theft is foremost on everybody’s mind (or at least it should be).

Here’s why: An estimated 23 million Americans have had a package stolen from the front of their homes before they could retrieve it, according to a study done by Princeton Survey Research Associates International.

And with all the package shipping expected this holiday season, online retailer Amazon may have the answer.

Amazon is rolling out a new solution to the theft problem that will be tested in nearly 1 million big apartment complexes across the country in the coming weeks.

The e-commerce giant has already begun installing locker systems for packages to serve more than 850,000 rental units from coast to coast, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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Amazon Hub: Introducing lockers for apartment dwellers

Large property owners such as AvalonBay Communities Inc., Equity Residential, Greystar and Bozzuto Group are on board with Amazon’s plan to install wireless-connected locker units both inside and outside of high-traffic apartment buildings.

The new initiative has been dubbed Amazon Hub.

The build-out is already underway and will reportedly be finished before the holiday package shipping season really ramps up.

Turns out there may be more than meets the eye to this seemingly overnight development from Amazon.

Obviously, Amazon wants to super-serve the highly coveted demographic of urban-dwelling millennials. In the unlikely event that they’re not already Prime customers, this is a great opportunity to reach them and hopefully retain them for life.

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The added benefits for apartment complexes and tenants

But beyond that, Amazon Hub represents a smart play for building management, too.

Building staffers find themselves hamstrung by the sheer volume of deliveries that residents increasingly receive; in some cases, The Wall Street Journal reports employees are spending several hours a day just dealing with packages.

Not to mention the unsightly mess you have when a ton of packages clog up hallways!

The in-residence locker idea shifts the burden of dealing with all those packages to tenants. Amazon Hub will be a fully automated set-up that residents can access 24 hours a day.

Tenants will be alerted to arriving packages via notifications on their phone. They can then use a one-time code to open up the locker and pick up their deliveries.

Interestingly, the lockers will also accept deliveries from multiple carriers — not just Amazon.

The Wall Street Journal also reports the installation of Amazon Hub lockers will cost big landlords between $10,000 and $20,000. That’s a roughly 50% discount on the price that Amazon was previously quoting to landlords for installation before this latest holiday push, the newspaper says.

Even though landlords are having to shell out, most tell the Journal that they’ll offer the service as an amenity to tenants rather than charging them for it. Plus, they’ll likely save money on labor now that their employees won’t have to deal with all those packages!

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We should note that the Amazon Hub initiative is separate from the Seattle-based company's previously announced plan to roll out lockers in some Whole Foods locations.

Meanwhile, Amazon isn’t the only one coming up with novel ways to effectively connect customers with their packages — a problem known in the logistics industry as last-mile delivery.

Walmart is now offering employees extra money to deliver packages to customers when they're driving home from work.

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