Before 2020, most of us had not heard about contactless deliveries. But in the last year, the service became an integral part of the society as it came into the limelight during the initial stage of the coronavirus pandemic.
During the first wave of COVID-19, when the lockdown was imposed and the government introduced new health regulations and put social distancing rules in place, the demand side of the economy uplifted in contrast to the supply side. Seeking a whole new solution and maintaining the equilibrium between demand and supply amidst the pandemic, the logistics ecosystem resorted to contactless delivery.
As it can be understood by the term itself, contactless delivery requires no contact between the sender and receiver. Contactless deliveries are entirely inverse of the conventional approach of delivery methods. Since the old approach of delivery focused on picking up the product from the dispatcher and delivering the product in hands of the customer, the new approach is quite different. In this approach, the delivery executive does not physically handle the product at the end-stage. And, the payment and proof of the item being delivered are also done through digital means.
But what do the consumers prefer- is it the old approach or the new approach? Since the coronavirus pandemic poses a threat to everybody, consumers across the world sought a solution to receive their orders without compromising their health. Seeking safety first, consumers have started to prefer contactless delivery as there is a lesser risk of being infected by the virus. Also, tracking the final mile deliveries gains immense significance with the growing popularity of contactless delivery.
How are businesses catering to the growing demand?
Contactless deliveries are one of the major reasons which has boosted up the demand for a plethora of items in the covid era as it offers customers and delivery executives transparency, hygiene, and safety. This consequently resulted in creating trust and allowed the customers to rely on the sellers they buy from. The pandemic has also allowed businesses to relook and restrategize their policies. To cater to the growing demand amidst the pandemic, e-commerce platforms are introducing chatbots to help the customers in case of any query. In addition, the sellers have also started providing their customers, touchless store experience to enhance their overall buying experience.
Risks associated with contactless deliveries
There might be a bunch of benefits of contactless deliveries but there is a greater risk associated with it. Sometimes the delivery person might be a fraud, dealing in wrongful activities. This can be dangerous for customers as in some cases they do not know who is going to deliver the product and can also lead to loss of money and resources. On part of sellers, there is a high risk of their image being tarnished, forcing customers to pivot to other sellers. So the sellers must always provide all the necessary information about their delivery personnel to the customers.
Benefits of contactless deliveries
- Trust and emotional connect
Since the vaccine was recently launched in the market, it will take a long time to vaccinate the global community. So till then, the customers will prefer only contactless delivery service. Hence, the businesses which provide contactless delivery service have chances to get huge sales benefits because it creates trust and an emotional connection in the mind of consumers.
- Health and hygiene
Since during the pandemic, the foremost preference of the consumers is contactless deliveries, this can help in controlling the virus from spreading by following the strict guidelines and social distancing.
- Digital growth
The coronavirus pandemic has played a major role in shifting consumers to online modes of shopping. This can help rural buyers to acquire more and more knowledge of digital mediums and also has enabled online sales to grow further.
- Proof of delivery
In the old approach which was majorly followed before the pandemic, the customers had to sign the documents physically as proof they had received their order. But in contactless delivery, since there is no contact between the delivery personnel and the customer, how do businesses get proof that the item is delivered?
- In contactless deliveries, the delivery personnel places the item on any flat surface while maintaining social distance by standing six feet apart.
- Then he/ she notifies the customer through the mobile app that they have reached the location.
- The customer then picks up the product allowing the delivery personnel to take a picture of him/her with the item.
- The delivery personnel then sends it for verification that the product is delivered to the right place.
- If in case the customer is not available at the locations, then the delivery personnel looks for an alternative receiver.
Are contactless deliveries here to stay?
In just a year, contactless delivery service has become the norm. Consumers prefer their issues to be resolved and receive their orders and services in a fast yet efficient and contactless manner.
Covid-19 has put everybody at the risk of being infected, which is why consumers are not ready to step out like before. The behavior change is going to stay so it is safe to say that even contactless delivery service will continue to stay, at least until after the pandemic is over. Contactless delivery has given the rise to in-home consumption and a rise to contactless outside-home consumption.
As we navigate through the pandemic, the benefits of contactless delivery are also expected to grow as the technology available would evolve further.
Businesses will continue to see the advantages that it offers especially in regards to enhancing efficiency and productivity. The benefits that contactless delivery offers to organizations, workers, and customers will continue to serve all stakeholders in the future.