We all have days where we are anxiously sitting around the house all day waiting for a delivery. Then we would miss the doorbell, and we would have wait one whole day for the delivery once again. The concept of contactless delivery is now here to save you from these days of sitting around and waiting all day.
The no-contact delivery option is shown to have improved conversions in the food and hyperlocal delivery platforms. Seeing this incentive, ecommerce platforms have also started leaning towards this option. It couldn’t have come at a better time as cash-heavy markets like India have been leaning towards online payments through UPI. However, ecommerce platforms as well as carriers still have to face some major blockers while executing the delivery.
In this blog, you will find detailed information about the concept of contactless delivery as well as important characteristics that you should know as an ecommerce business.
2) What is Contactless Delivery?
Contactless Delivery is a modern method of executing deliveries in a quicker and more efficient manner. Delivery is said to be contactless when there is no physical contact between the delivery executive and the recipient.
While popular in some parts for quite some time, it became a necessity in the recent pandemic times and gained popularity across the globe. No-contact delivery allows us to have our parcels delivered to our doorstep without the inconvenience of having to physically collect our orders.
This method has grown quite popular with hyperlocal deliveries as well as low-value online deliveries, even in traditional markets like India. The increasing use of online payments may be another factor. With the omnichannel fulfillment model taking many physical businesses online, contactless delivery methods like curbside pickups have allowed them to use their existing infrastructure.
3) How Does Contactless Delivery Work?
Even before the pandemic, this method of delivery was quite popular in countries like US and Australia. Delivery executives would typically leave the parcel at your doorstep so that the customers could collect it at their convenience.
However, the pandemic saw the use of no-contact deliveries gain popularity across the globe. The basic working of contactless delivery is that the delivery executive delivers the package to your doorstep. The delivery partner then informs the customers that the package has been delivered. However, every market has adopted a unique approach to cater to the needs of its customers.
For example, grocery delivery brands like Country Delight deliver the orders early morning in a secure bag outside the door. Post-pandemic, food delivery brands like McDonald’s and Zomato would deliver an order to the doorstep. The delivery executive would then inform you and wait at a distance till you collect your order.
4) 4 Advantages of Contactless Delivery
4.1) Convenience of Delivery
Contactless delivery is extremely convenient for customers as well as executives. The customer does not have to worry about waiting around all day for the delivery to arrive. Along with this, delivery executives can follow an optimised route for efficient delivery.
4.2) Reduced Failed Deliveries
If you look at the stats for failed deliveries, it will show that most deliveries fail because the customers are unreachable at the time of delivery. Contactless delivery allows customers to accept a package without having to be physically present at the address.
4.3) Business Viability
Contactless deliveries ensure better business viability by reducing the touch points in the delivery supply chain. Since the payment method will be online as well, you won't have to wait around to receive the reimbursement for COD orders.
Contactless deliveries have become the only way to ensure the safety of your customers as well as the delivery executives. Especially in the food delivery industry, contactless deliveries have been a major booster for growth and customer acquisition.
4.5) Changing Customer Preferences
According to a study published by Forbes, customers prefer the contactless delivery option even as the pandemic becomes history. No-contact methods like curbside pickup have gained popularity in major retail networks like Decathlon.
5) 3 Disadvantages of Contactless Delivery
5.1) Delivery Disputes
Miscommunications about the delivery can lead to increased escalations. This escalation can be about the customer missing the delivery or someone accepting the delivery on their behalf without their knowledge. This can result in increased stress on the customer support system.
5.2) Package Theft
Package theft has been a major blocker for contactless deliveries in several markets. Outlining the liability of the stolen package is quite cumbersome. Furthermore, the loss of product and the hampered customer experience can result in increased losses for your ecommerce business.
5.3) Limited Payment Methods
Implementing a contactless payment system can be quite stressful. Limited number of customers have access to these methods, and it can be a task to get customers to place prepaid orders. These limitations can increase the cart abandonment rate, especially if you are using an unreliable payment gateway.
6) 7 Tips to Improve Contactless Delivery Experience
If you are introducing your customers to the contactless delivery service for the first time, here are some tips that should be kept in mind.
6.1) Introduce Digital Proof of Delivery
Including digital proof of delivery is beneficial for you as well as your customers. The executive will click a photo at the customer’s doorstep as proof of the delivery. This will allow you to confirm that the carrier has made the delivery. Along with this, you can also share this with the customer to provide a confirmation to them if they are not present at the delivery address.
6.2) Use a Secure Payment Gateway
Digital payment is at the foundation of the contactless delivery experience. You have to use or develop a payment gateway that is secure with at least basic security protocols. The customers should be allowed to store their credentials in an easy and secure way. The gateway should use advanced SSL encryption for safer transactions. Along with security, you have to enable the customers to pay through a payment method of choice. This can include UPI, netbanking, credit/debit cards, etc.
6.3) Enable Real-time Shipment Tracking
The real-time shipment tracking feature may take a bit of additional effort and resources, but it is crucial for a superior customer experience. As the customers gets real-time location of their package, you can reduce a lot of the post purchase anxiety. This brings down the cancellation and return rate for your products. The customer support will also likely have to deal with less WISMO calls as regular updates are communicated with the customer.
6.4) Seamless Communication through Notifications
If you are wondering how to best communicate the order updates to the customer, the answer is Notifications. These notifications can be sent from your platforms as push notifications, or as messages over the SMS, email, or WhatsApp channels. These notifications act as a medium to reengage the customer with the tracking page and platform. You can drive repeat purchases, increasing your average customer value.
6.5) Collect Customer Feedback after Deliveries
Whenever you implement a new initiative, the customer feedback can be the best metric to gauge its success. For contactless delivery, customer feedback becomes imperative as most blockers are in the customer experience area. Once the delivery has been successfully executed, you collect feedback from the customers about the various points through a survey. This will enable you to empower a more customer-focused experience.
6.6) Use Newer Technologies
A hassle-free customer experience can be an excellent driver for repeat purchases. You can implement advanced APIs like address verification and route optimization to support a more secure delivery experience. Additionally, you can use the existing network of stores and locations to support delivery options like curbside or in-store pickup for a more convenient delivery experience.
6.7) Consider Alternate Delivery Methods
Technology is constantly evolving, enabling newer methods for contactless deliveries. You can try unmanned drones and robots for a more technological and secure delivery experience. On the other hand, you can enable customers with security technology like smart lockers to give them peace of mind about their deliveries.
7) 4 Key Features to Look For In Contactless Delivery Software
Most ecommerce brands rely on multi-carrier shipping platforms to handle their delivery needs. These platforms can also be an ideal choice for handling contactless deliveries. However, there are some key features that you will need in a shipping platform to make it compatible for enabling contactless deliveries.
7.1) Ideal Carrier Integration
The shipping platform should have integrations with multiple carriers that enable contactless deliveries. These carrier integrations will allow you to have options while shipping and optimize your shipping process for efficiency, speed, and cost.
7.2) Digital Proof of Delivery
Digital PODs are at the heart of every contactless delivery. This digital POD can be anything from a picture of the package at the doorstep to two-step verification for delivery of the parcel. The customer can also verify the delivery through an IVRS call or a push notification or by signing for the delivery from their personal devices.
7.3) Digital Payment Gateway
Contactless payments are the first requirement to introduce contactless deliveries. A secure payment gateway is vital to incentivize customers to make digital payments. This gateway should accept payments over a variety of payment mediums like online wallets, cards, UPI, etc.
7.4) Tracking and Notifications
The real-time tracking capabilities enable visibility for customers and your shipping management team. The notifications should be shared over multiple communication channels. These notifications will share specific milestones that your shipment has crossed. This will allow customers to locate their shipment more accurately and reduce their anxiety about the purchase.
As the world becomes more virtual, no-contact deliveries are being preferred by most customers. Contactless deliveries can be tricky, even scary, at the start. However, the right implementation of the delivery method will allow you and your customers to extract the maximum convenience in the ecommerce delivery process. Hopefully, the above blog will help you get familiar with the concept and give you a direction to start.
1) What are other safer alternatives to Contactless Delivery?
Hyperlocal delivery providers have started using robotics and artificial intelligence to use delivery robots and drones to keep the delivery contactless. Smart lockers are also used in places where package theft is a common nuisance.
2) Who provides contactless deliveries in India?
Almost all food and hyperlocal brands in India, like Swiggy, Zomato, Country Delight, Grofers, etc., provide contactless delivery in India. Popular couriers like Ecom Express also allow you to offer contactless deliveries to your customers.