For businesses like restaurants and supermarkets, contactless delivery has become the lifeblood of the industry since the pandemic started. COVID-19 forced companies to exercise hyper-hygienic delivery measures to prevent the spread of the disease and ensure the health and safety of their patrons.
Every delivery company relied on no-contact delivery, and we expect them to continue to do so in the near future. In fact, the trends point towards more delivery volume and more ways to ensure convenience and privacy. Here’s what the future holds for contactless delivery.
How Robots and Autonomous Vehicles Are The Future
Robots and autonomous vehicles are among the most critical trends that improve the contactless shipping process. Major logistics and ecommerce companies like Amazon are starting to use drones to deliver packages to perform same-day deliveries without human contact.
Companies are starting to see the value of autonomous vehicles in contactless logistics, primarily in cost savings. In addition, by investing in driverless vehicles, they can utilize their workforce for other roles that generate a better return on investment (ROI).
Autonomous deliveries also allow a wider variety of products that companies can deliver. These can be anything from food, medical supplies, and emergency materials to other hazardous packages. In addition, artificial intelligence is helping fast-track contactless deliveries over long distances, helping simplify the entire process.
With social distancing, robots and drones allow for deliveries to reach the customers’ doorsteps. Furthermore, the entire process can be supervised and validated over camera information as well, so delivery services can ensure that the product reaches the customer every time without the constraint of delivery routes.
Electric Vehicles and Contactless Payments
The future of contactless delivery also relies on lowering the cost of delivery technology. The usual barrier for companies is the cost of such delivery tech. In many use cases, it can be cheaper to hire delivery drivers and traditional vehicles to do the job.
Electric vehicles and contactless equipment are becoming a crucial part of reducing the contact between delivery personnel and customers. In addition, electric vehicles, for starters, help with eco-friendly efforts towards decarbonization of the environment.
What comes with electric vehicles is autonomous technology and fewer interactions during delivery. At the same time, contactless payment solutions that allow payment on delivery helps reduce the instances of cash changing hands. These are vital options, especially for third-world countries where cash on delivery is still essential.
Contactless delivery spawned the need for digital wallet integrations. As card payments can be risky, tap to pay systems are also better options than cash. This also helps with easier tracking of payments and a streamlined payment process.
More Businesses Are Adopting Online Orders
Contactless delivery technology does not start and end with the way companies deliver and ship parcels. Since its inception, the internet has become an essential tool in initiating consistently contact-free delivery. Online ordering has become a norm, even to those who had resistance to it.
Before the pandemic, some small businesses like restaurants and pharmacies only used their websites as a way to reserve seats for dine-in options. This was especially prevalent with many big-name restaurants that thrived on the experience. However, much of this line of thinking changed throughout the pandemic.
Online ordering has become a crucial part of contactless delivery. By improving online delivery options, companies filled the gap left by drive-thru and the lack of indoor dining. Even companies that never considered contactless deliveries like hardware stores, tech, and construction supplies used online ordering to their advantage.
Contactless online orders are likely here to stay. With the growing ecommerce industry, more businesses are willing to use their websites as part of a more convenient delivery process. Not only does contactless delivery improve their sales, but it also reduces the clog in business phone lines, allowing for a more straightforward delivery process.
Dark Stores Are Powering No-Contact Retail
One key component that lends to the future of contactless delivery is the emergence of the dark store. The emergence of dark store technology and curbside pickups are converting traditional retail stores into fulfillment centers. This is slowly changing what it means to “work in retail.”
While face-to-face retail stores are not going away, the dark store concept is taking root, even in customer-centric countries. Dark stores resemble traditional supermarket facilities but are not open to in-store customers. Instead, these locations only provide fulfillment for online orders.
Dark stores and contactless pickup allow quick and contact-free shopping. Rather than having an army of retail personnel handling a rowdy buying public, all they need to face is an electronic shopping list and a shopping cart, fill it, and prepare it for pickup or delivery.
These fulfillment centers help improve distribution and speed of delivery, especially within the same geolocation. It allows companies to have a larger audience and broader reach as well. As these companies need fewer human resources, they are only becoming more and more profitable.
Contactless Means Better Protection For Delivery Personnel
Contactless delivery does not mean the total extinction of shipment and delivery drivers. On the contrary, contact-free delivery is improving the health and safety protocols surrounding product logistics. Furthermore, the need to prevent infectious transmission means enhancing the protection for delivery personnel everywhere.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a must for supply chain personnel and delivery drivers who will be dealing with dozens and even hundreds of parcels daily. PPE is consistently improving, becoming less cumbersome and more comfortable, and it will only improve over time.
Improvements in delivery software are now considering features such as temperature tracking for personnel and other health monitoring options that provide peace of mind to customers worldwide. Compliance technology is also improving, ensuring that everything within the supply chain follows health protocols.
The emergence of contactless delivery ensures that everyone’s health is consistently monitored from ordering to fulfillment to door-to-door delivery.
The Bottom Line
Contactless delivery is here to stay. But, in a world ravaged by the pandemic, many will still rely on online orders, health-compliant supply lines, and new industries that will help fulfill every buyer’s need.
As we live through the new normal, savvy businesses will keep finding ways to execute no-contact deliveries. It has many benefits, especially to small businesses and those looking to improve on their bottom line. As it curbs the risk of spreading diseases, it also helps drive digital payments and a healthy online presence for many.