Can smart locks provide a solution to delivery failure?

The number of consumers that make online purchases is growing, together with the frequency in which these purchases are made. This change in consumer behavior revitalized the practice of home delivery. Consumers prefer their homes in favor of alternative locations, despite the fair chance that they are not present at the time of delivery. Between 2% and 60% (!) of home deliveries fail, according to research by Rai et. al. This creates unnecessary costs for logistics service providers and retailers, inconveniences for consumers and an additional burden to the environment.

Smart lock systems are presented as a promising solution, as they enable access to delivery couriers by means of dedicated digital keys, even when no one is at home to receive the order. Smart locks’ technical feasibility has been demonstrated, yet consumer acceptance is the main obstacle in implementation.

The researchers organized six focus group discussions with 49 consumers. Findings suggest that consumers are reluctant to adopt smart lock systems, mainly because of security concerns. Suggested solutions to alleviate the obstacles include improving courier information, limiting courier access and enhancing professional support.


Rai, H. B., Verlinde, S., & Macharis, C. (2019). Unlocking the failed delivery problem? Opportunities and challenges for smart locks from a consumer perspective. Research in Transportation Economics, 100753.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *