After roughly a year of quietly adding self-service lockers in apartment buildings across the United States, Amazon.com Inc. on Tuesday officially launched the fulfillment option, which it calls Hub by Amazon.

After roughly a year of quietly adding self-service lockers in apartment buildings across the United States, Amazon.com Inc. on Tuesday officially launched the fulfillment option, which it calls Hub by Amazon.

The arrangement aims to make Amazon more central to e-commerce order delivery, regardless of whether the order comes from Amazon because shoppers can pick up packages sent to them by any retailer—not just Amazon—in apartment buildings across the country.

More than 500,000 consumers have access to the lockers, Amazon says, with “thousands more gaining access each month” as Amazon installs more Hubs in apartment communities across the country that are operated by a number of large  management companies, including AvalonBay, Fairfield Residential, Pinnacle, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, WinnResidential and Equity Residential.

After a consumer places his order and selects for the package to be delivered to a locker, he receives a one-time use code via text message or email that he can use to open the locker when their package arrives.

“We’re always striving to make things easier for our customers,” says Patrick Supanc, director, Amazon Worldwide Lockers and Pickup. “Building on Amazon’s expertise in locker solutions, the Hub addresses frustrations from property owners, carriers and residents concerning package delivery.”

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The Hub benefits building managers as the locker handles package tasks regularly handled by property staff, declutters lobbies and allows on-site staff to address other priorities. And it speeds up the processes for delivery providers by offering a single, convenient location for package drop-off.

“With Hub by Amazon, residents can pick up packages at their convenience, 24/7, and our associates are spending more time doing what they’re most excited about—delivering great service to our residents,” says Karen Hollinger, vice president of corporate initiatives at AvalonBay Communities.

And, for Amazon, the lockers represent a branding opportunity, said Bryan Jensen, chairman and executive vice president of logistics consultancy St. Onge last year when the retail giant began installing the lockers.

“Every time I go past them even without using them, I see the logo and the next time I go to the internet to buy something, I’m more likely to buy something [from Amazon],” he says.

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