The outbreak of COVID-19 brought numerous changes in the way we do business. Social distancing norms unfolded many innovations in the way we do business. In the field of logistics, one such innovation was introduced in the form of contactless delivery.
Contactless delivery: Meaning
As the name suggests, contactless delivery means that goods are delivered without any physical contact. However, do you know does it exactly work? Here is more about it.
As mentioned earlier, contactless delivery eliminates any physical contact between delivery personnel and the recipient. It adheres to the social distancing norms and promotes health and safety.
Contactless delivery system: How does it work?
Here is how contactless delivery works.
- The customer places an order and ticks his/her preference as contactless delivery.
- The order is fetched from the fulfilment centre and dispatched.
- The courier or delivery person delivers products contactless. In other words, the delivery person will leave the product at the customer’s doorstep.
- The delivery person takes a photo of the delivered product and uploads the photo to the mobile application.
- After the delivery, the customer gets an alert of the delivery along with the photo and then picks up the delivered products at their convenience.
Here are a couple of examples of contactless delivery.
A customer places an order for a home décor item on an e-commerce platform. The specific product is fetched from the warehouse, packed and shipped. Deliver person places the item safely at the doorstep, takes a photo of the delivery and uploads using the app. The customer receives the notification of the delivery along with the photo. The customer then fetches its order. Payment for the same is made digitally.
Foord delivery example:
A customer places an order for ready-to-eat pasta from a restaurant. The restaurant receives the order, prepares it using the utmost sanitisation norms and packs it. The delivery personnel picks up the order, riches the doorstep of the customer and keeps it at the doorstep. The customer is informed through an app or call from the delivery person. The customer then retrieves their order.
Contactless delivery technology
Making contactless delivery a reality needs technological features. The logistics partner’s software has to be equipped with the following key features to enable contactless delivery:
Photo uploading capability
As proof of delivery, contactless delivery demands a photo to be uploaded through a mobile application. Therefore, the application or technology needs to be capable of taking and uploading proof of delivery.
Proof of delivery
Many logistics companies rely on obtaining a signature from the customer as proof of delivery. With contactless delivery, it had to be changed to digital signatures, where customer accepted the delivery from their device. Some logistics companies opted for one-time-password as proof of delivery.
This is yet another feature that contactless delivery requires. Logistics companies need software that supports contactless payment methods such as UPI, net banking, etc.
Benefits of contactless delivery
Here are some key benefits of contactless payment.
Safety and Health:
The main advantage of contactless delivery is the promotion of safety and public health. Contactless delivery minimises physical interactions between customers and delivery personnel, reducing the risk of virus transmission and the spread of illnesses. Since it met the social distancing norms, contactless deliveries gained popularity during the COVID-19-induced lockdowns.
Contactless delivery uses digital payment, which offers a higher level of security compared to cash transactions. Moreover, customers can receive digital receipts, and electronic signatures are often more secure than handwritten ones.
Since delivery personnel do not come in contact with the recipient, it turns out to be a time-saving method of delivery. For example, delivery personnel saves time by interacting with the customer and getting the paper signed and in some cases waiting for the customer to check and verify the quantity of goods.
During the pandemic, contactless deliveries ensured business continuity while meeting the social distancing norms. Therefore, many businesses could deliver the required goods to their customers, ensuring the sustainability of the business. For example, a steel manufacturer could dispatch steel to the auto components maker with the help of contactless deliveries. Since the auto component maker received raw materials, it ensured continued production and further business.
It eliminates the use of physical paperwork such as paper receipts, paper proof of delivery confirmation, etc. Such paperless logistics arrangements are more environmentally friendly.
Contactless deliveries rely on automation and digital transactions, which reduce the risk of manual errors. For example, digital transactions reduce the risk of errors made during cash transactions.
With technology advancements, contactless deliveries have new solutions too.
Robotics and drones:
In future, use of autonomous robots and drones can be used for contactless deliveries. They can transport packages to customers’ doorsteps without human interaction. Also, they enable contactless deliveries in remote and difficult-to-reach areas. Such a technology can turn out to be beneficial, especially in cases of emergencies.
Smart locks and keyless entry:
In some cases, smart locks and keyless entry systems can be developed to allow delivery personnel to access secure delivery points without the need for physical keys or codes. Customers can grant temporary access to their premises for secure drop-offs.
Contactless pickup lockers:
In future, businesses may use lockers with one-time access codes or mobile app-based access for customers to retrieve their orders securely and without physical contact.
Although contactless deliveries were introduced during the pandemic, it is here to stay. It can serve remote areas better and cost effectively. Additionally, the new technology is enabling the contactless deliveries to be more efficient and hassler-free.