The growing importance of contactless deliveries in the new normal — Retail Technology Innovation Hub

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a plethora of changes across various industries. But one that is most likely to stick around is contactless deliveries. 

Owing to social distancing norms and safety precautions, contactless deliveries became essential and for all the right reasons. 

What is contactless delivery? 

The concept refers to the delivery of orders while maintaining limited or no contact between delivery personnel and the order recipient or the customer.

It simply means that there should not be any direct contact between the delivery partner and the customer

In fact from pickup to drop, all principles of contactless deliveries should be followed throughout the last mile delivery process to ensure essential services and goods are delivered in a safe and protected manner. 

While it is not just restricted to essentials anymore, the pandemic did compel the e-commerce industry to adopt contactless deliveries to make sure that customers could have access to necessities. 

Alongside sanitisation of hands and packages, along with wearing masks became necessary health protocols, contactless deliveries ensured that there is at least a distance of six feet between the delivery personnel and the consumer. 

This practice allowed orders to be delivered either at the customer’s doorstep or at another place as per their convenience. 

The customer can inform the delivery personnel in advance about the place and timing of delivery via digital means. The payment for such deliveries is also made online to avoid any physical contact.

How does contactless delivery work?

The whole purpose is to make sure that there is no need to sign for a delivery or exchange goods in person, so as to avoid all sorts of contact with the delivery person. 

The order is dropped off at a pre-decided location and a notification is sent to the customer via text, phone call, or email. 

The customer is also able to provide instructions as to where the order can be dropped off and whether there is a need to ring the doorbell or not. 

Furthermore, depending on the carrier service, the delivery person might take a picture of where he/she has dropped off the order and send it to the customer for added convenience. 

Contactless deliveries should ideally be undertaken when the order is either paid for online or can be paid at the time of delivery via online means. 

Why is it in demand?

While the concept of contactless deliveries isn’t something that could be termed as ‘new’, the pandemic did force it to become a necessity, especially for grocery stores and food delivery services. 

These two sectors witnessed a massive rise in the number of orders owing to the fact that people across the world continued to stay inside and work from home. It fulfils the needs of customers in times of lockdowns and allows them access to their daily basic requirements. 

However, this is not just limited to food delivery services as other industries continue to explore and experiment with more ways to reduce contact between their employees and customers. 

This need for contactless deliveries has offered an array of opportunities for organisations to invest more in delivery robotics. 

The use of advanced technology such as drones is also on the rise by other sectors as they come up with new ways to deal with the coronavirus while ensuring that their business revenue does not get affected. 

Let’s have a look at the key aspects of contactless delivery which make it essential in the new normal.

1.   Hygiene and safety

The purpose behind contactless deliveries is to make sure that health protocols are followed and that the customer’s experience is not hampered. 

As government regulations did not allow millions of people to step outside their homes amidst the lockdown, it was imperative for businesses to provide their goods to their consumers while ensuring complete safety and hygiene. 

From sanitisation of facilities, equipment, delivery vehicles to temperature checks of their delivery employees every few hours, service providers have implemented multiple measures to undertake contactless deliveries in the most efficient manner. 

The delivery agents are trained on a regular basis to ensure that they follow the strict protocols to minimise human contact while performing their duties diligently. 

2.  Maintaining trust and reliability

Since the new normal was established after the pandemic began, organisations needed to ensure that they provide services to their customers while maintaining their trust and enhancing their reliability. 

By providing services along with contactless deliveries, businesses were able to create an environment of trust and ensured them the organisation will keep their safety as a priority. 

This was also done alongside redefining marketing strategies, digitising the payment process, automating work processes such as digital signatures, and understanding the needs and preferences of customers during a crisis. 

3.   Transparency

An important facet that came to the forefront during the pandemic and the rise of contactless deliveries was to ensure constant transparent communication with customers. 

Digitising their delivery experience and touchpoints ensured that the delivery could be undertaken with ease and efficiency. 

Service providers need to ensure that their website and mobile applications are able to facilitate this process. Rising demand needs to be met by businesses across industries and transparency is key. 

Businesses now communicate each step of the delivery process to their customers; right from order preparation to delivery, and also provides them options to get their orders delivered at the place and time that is convenient for them. 

Updating customers through consistent notifications and emails ensures that transparency is enhanced and establishes long-term trust. 

4.  Digital payments

Going cashless and encouraging digital payments was essential alongside contactless deliveries and has become the backbone of the system. 

If digitised payments are not possible, the whole purpose of contactless delivery might be defeated. 

Hence, it is an important aspect of contactless deliveries to make sure that the business provides options to its customers to pay digitally for their orders either while placing the order or at the time of delivery.

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