Are you willing to let a courier enter your flat or home when you’re away? Large shipping firms think you are and are trying different ways to get around the fact that someone isn’t home to take possession of a package. While it’s normal to put deliveries in mail boxes and even in the boot of a person’s car, today couriers can leave your packages inside your home – they have the code to your door.
The whole idea essentially revolves around something that’s worked for a long time. ‘Balíkomats’ or ‘poštomats’ (parcel drop boxes) have already been around for a few years. Those from Czech Post have been in operation since 2012 and are popular for their simplicity: the customer orders a package, say from an eshop, and chooses a balíkomat at a convenient location for delivery. As soon as the postal carrier delivers the package to the balíkomat, the recipient is sent a text message stating that the package has been deposited. The message also includes a PIN code and the COD price, if applicable. The customer then goes to the balíkomat, enters the PIN, pays any COD charges and opens the relevant compartment to get their package. Other boxes from larger carriers or eshops work the same way. Drop-off boxes are ideal for people who can’t come to the branch of an online shop in person, for those who don’t know if they’ll be home at the time a package is to be delivered, or for customers who simply don’t want to be tied down. But the revolution continues!
Packages delivered to the boot of your car
A trio of firms – Audi, DHL and Amazon – raised the eyebrows of consumers when they introduced a project for deliveries to the boot of customers’ cars. By means of a special mobile application, the courier found the precise location of the car along with access information. They located the car, placed the package or purchase in the boot, and DHL sent the customer delivery confirmation.
The project took place in Munich, but ran into a few problems, e.g. that many managers had their cars in underground garages, access to which required another card. And also the fact that customers had to have an Audi, as Amazon and DHL were only working with this carmaker. Of course, it wasn’t the first experiment of this sort – the Belgian company Cardrops came up with a similar idea in 2012 and is still in operation today. The setup device that a technician installs in a customer’s car and which can then allows the courier to open the boot costs €100. Deliveries then cost €5.
The courier fills your fridge
And deliveries have moved even further – right into your home. It’s no longer necessary to leave a purchase on the patio, as was shown at the beginning of last November in 37 America towns. Amazon introduced its Key operation and tested deliveries into customers’ homes, even without them being there. The new Key service is provided to members of Amazon’s Prime loyalty program. The necessary equipment comes to the equivalent of CZK 5,500 or more. In addition to a smart lock, the owner must buy the Cloud Cam intelligent camera, which allows the customer to see what the courier is doing inside their home. The customer opens the door to their home by means of a mobile ap. The security lock from the firm Glue (costing c. €250) includes a small electronic motor installed inside the door, which allows the homeowner to provide access to the cleaning lady, visitors or family members.
Again, Amazon isn’t the first firm to come up with this idea. The television station CNN reported that the American retail chain Walmart is testing deliveries straight to the customer’s refrigerator. These deliveries require a camera and a one-time security code. PostNord in Scandinavia also had this same idea and tested the service with the supermarket chain ICA. ‘Unlike futuristic ideas like drone deliveries, this Swedish experiment has the potential to become broadly applicable’, wrote Matthias Winkenbach, director of the Megacity Logistics Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in the Wall Street Journal.