Contactless Delivery Software: What It Is And How It Helps Businesses Ensure Customer Loyalty
By Komal Puri | October 13, 2022
The new normal post-COVID has not only increased our dependence on e-commerce deliveries but also has changed the face of home deliveries. Contactless deliveries are here to stay and retailers who do not offer contactless deliveries are already late to the game. This post emphasizes the importance of contactless deliveries and the steps organizations need to take in order to deliver safe and contactless home deliveries.
What is contactless delivery?
Contactless delivery is a new delivery model that gained immense popularity owing to the strict social distancing regulations implemented by governments across the world. In this type of delivery model, a delivery executive places an order outside the customer’s doorstep to eliminate any kind of physical interaction. This significantly reduces the chances of contracting the COVID-19 virus.
How does contactless delivery work?
When a customer places an order and opts for contactless delivery, the delivery executive leaves the said order at the customer’s doorstep. He informs the customer about the completion of the delivery process by sending a picture of the order being kept outside the door, via his mobile application. Once the delivery is over, automatic alerts and notifications are sent to the customer to remind her to take-in her order according to her convenience.
This type of delivery includes two more critical aspects. Payment for a contactless delivery is strictly done using secure digital wallets and OTP-based transactions. Cash and card payments are eliminated. There is more. To further gain a customer’s confidence, the health status of delivery executives and store staff are also displayed in the order tracking screen.
Owing to prolonged lockdowns and growing containment zones in the initial phase of the pandemic, orders getting cancelled post-payment became a frequent occurrence. Hence, businesses have to ensure quick refund to customers to ensure loyalty. Well, now things have gotten better and order cancellations are not too frequent a challenge.
The Need For Contactless Deliveries
COVID 19 has brought about unprecedented changes in human behavior. Although humans are social by nature, distancing is the new normal and one can’t help it given the circumstances at least for the near foreseeable future. Customer expectations from retailers who offer home deliveries have also changed drastically due to the impact of the pandemic. To drive seamless contact deliveries it's critical to embrace modern contactless delivery software.
Contactless deliveries or zero contact deliveries are here to stay and some reasons are:
Need for maintaining social distancing - The new normal is here to stay and as long as we have a vaccine, social distancing norms are set to stay globally. This is particularly true as the spread of the virus hasn’t subsided so far in many parts of the world.
Dependence on e-commerce - Due to extended lockdowns, the dependence on e-commerce deliveries have grown several-fold. It does put everyone at the risk of exposure to the virus which necessitates contactless deliveries.
Key Components Of Contactless Delivery Software
Although it majorly refers to the delivery side of the operations, achieving contactless pickups is the first step in the entire delivery lifecycle. Curbside pickups, dark stores, retail stores becoming fulfillment centers are all part of this change and this is the new face of the retail supply chain. From label generation, order allocation, assignment, everything needs to be digitally run in order to minimize human face-to-face interaction and this is one of the most important factors in ensuring that there is minimum scope of transmission at the pickup point. Any compromise at this stage could potentially lead to a chain reaction and put the entire system and its stakeholders at risk or exposure. This also comes with the unsaid but uncompromising adherence to safety measures such as sanitizing the premises regularly and ensuring that the staff working at these places are routinely checked for wellness and ensured that they are healthy and fit.
Contactless delivery software is key to ensuring no cash deliveries. No cash deliveries have been made the norm as cash(currency notes, hard cash etc.) require humans to come close to each other and involve a physical element. Card payment at the time of deliveries is a risky process at the point of time. This means that all retailers need to have digital wallet integrations and support cashless transactions. When this is integrated with the overall logistic delivery process through software, it helps in easy tracking and also allows them a single platform to handle the entire length and breadth of transactions.
Contactless Proof of Deliveries
Doorstep deliveries, out-of-the-door deliveries are part of the new normal where the delivery executive leaves the parcel outside the premises of the customer. This needs new methods of collecting proof of delivery. Some ways of collecting proof of delivery in a contactless manner include:
Sending a photo of the parcel at the customer’s doorstep via the URL which is used to track the parcel.
OTP based proof of delivery.
Customers can sign on their own personal devices thereby avoiding contact with the delivery executive or their device in order to give a digital signature.
This is another important component of contactless delivery software. Since these are unprecedented situations, there is a lot of anxiety, panic and fear gripping the minds of customers. In order to give them a bit of a relief, a lot of retailers are providing customers with the ability to track the health parameters of the delivery executive so that they can be sure of not being exposed to any sort of vulnerability or a health risk. They need to be assured that the delivery is safe and secure. This is especially true in the case of food and grocery deliveries.
QSR deliveries are slowly opening up in different parts of the world. After months of lockdown and no clear visibility into the means and the modes that can put anyone under massive risk, this level of visibility can help in alleviating some of the fears which are in the minds of customers which are only natural given the unique nature of circumstances.
A lot of countries have launched compliance apps that help in tracking and provide critical information about containment zones, proximity to risky exposures etc. The technology platform that lets customers track orders should also give visibility into the adherence of these protocols by delivery executives. This not only helps in the overall adherence to protocols but also helps in curtailing the spread to whatever extent possible.
How Savvy Businesses Execute Contactless or No-contact Delivery
Businesses that began their digital transformation journey long before the pandemic struck were better prepared to handle the disruptions caused by COVID-19. With digital logistics tools in place, they were able to quickly introduce contactless delivery options in their existing delivery processes. Leveraging the power of mobility, they also empowered their field executives to follow contactless delivery policies right from the time an order was placed till it was delivered to the customer.
Even while following social distancing regulations, digital tools ensured seamless communications between customers and delivery executives. Key delivery aspects like payments and generating detailed delivery receipts, were effortlessly and efficiently done without depending on any form of physical contact using digital tools.
5 Immediate Benefits of Contactless Deliveries
The advantages of providing contactless delivery services are many. From sustaining delivery operations, delivering delightful deliveries to digital readiness, such a form of delivery can help businesses stand-out from their competition.
1. Business sustainability
The COVID-19 pandemic taught business across the globe why it's important to invest in strategies and technologies that ensure supply chain resilience. Although effective vaccines are being distributed, it’s a long way until the global community gets immune to the virus. Till then and even after that, customers would want to do their best to stay away from contracting the virus. Hence, businesses that will fail to provide efficient contactless deliveries might end up in boiling waters in the guise of customer churn and poor delivery experience. Such a delivery model will be instrumental in generating revenue via brand loyalty for a significant period.
2. Curbing the risks of spreading the virus
Reducing the chances of spreading the virus is the most critical benefit of contactless delivery. Now, one might argue that with nations opening up and businesses back in operation, why is it important that something as simple as home delivery is kept under the social distancing umbrella? Well, to begin with, it at least eliminates one instance or chance of contracting the virus. Then, in terms of a bigger picture, imagine the damage to a brand's reputation an incident of getting infected through a delivery executive can cause! Being safe rather than sorry is always a smart way to execute deliveries.
3. Driving digital payments
Cash on delivery is prone to irregularities. Cash can get misplaced, stolen, damaged and even lost. Cash is difficult to trace, it increases human dependencies and makes it difficult to ensure accountability. Payments through digital gateways and secure digital wallets eliminate all these inefficiencies. It ensures customers that their payments are in safe hands. Leveraging digital payments, businesses can drastically improve cash flow, quickly discover gaps in payment collection, ease audit processes and significantly shrink billing cycles. The need to use contactless deliveries automatically drove customers to get into the habit of paying for orders using digital gateways. Now that a large number of customers, irrespective of their age, got used to the convenience and security of digital payments, businesses can safely assume that cash on delivery will not remain a ‘favorite’ payment method.
4. Increasing brand loyalty
Providing customers with a contactless delivery option subtly conveys a message. A message that says you care about your customers. It establishes a brand-customer relationship that goes beyond cash backs, discounts, holiday offers and Black Friday sales. It convinces customers that your business is willing to walk that extra mile to make them happy. This significantly improves brand loyalty scores.
5. Ensures safety of delivery executives
Delivery businesses are nothing without their efficient and hardworking field executives. When people across the world had to stay indoors to avoid contracting the virus, delivery executives along with physicians, police and other frontline workers, had to venture out every day to ensure the wellbeing of a much larger population. Contactless deliveries also empower businesses to make sure that their delivery executives do not contract the virus while performing their duties.
Importance of Contactless Food Delivery
When it comes to hygiene, customers are very sensitive to what they eat. Hence, it was not at all a surprise that when the pandemic took the world by surprise the fear of contracting the virus from eating restaurant-prepared food became a vivid reality. Hence, people stuck to cooking and eating at home. No wonder social media was flooded with images of first-time cooks, although the probability of contracting the virus from freshly cooked food is still up for debates.
At a time like this, when the survival of restaurants was at stake, contact food delivery came into the picture as a savior. Through this delivery model, restaurants and food delivery businesses were able to tell customers about the robust sanitization and other hygiene measures they undertook to keep them safe. Therefore, contactless food deliveries will continue to play a pivotal role in the days ahead.
Quick Tips for Businesses To Ensure Seamless Contactless Food Delivery
The pandemic impacted all our lives, but for some, it was worse than others. Hence, do not take customers for granted even after all this is over. Introduce new ways in your restaurant's website or application through which your customers can opt for contactless delivery and add specific instructions.
Keep your food outlets sanitized round the clock. Set processes that will help your staff get into the habit of sanitizing themselves, restaurant surfaces and their point of sale terminals.
Leverage multiple outreach platforms like radio, social media, company website among others to tell the world about your strict sanitization methods and contactless delivery option.
Focus on digital payments options, it is a win-win for both customers and your business.
Komal Puri is a seasoned professional in the logistics and supply chain industry. As the Senior Director of Marketing and a subject matter expert at FarEye, she has been instrumental in shaping the industry narrative for the past decade. Her expertise and insights have earned her numerous awards and recognition. Komal’s writings reflect her deep understanding of the industry, offering valuable insights and thought leadership.