Zalando has been quietly testing consumer interest in the Belgian market for in-home delivery. This began with a small scale survey of 750 online shoppers to gauge their willingness to try the service and how they felt about enabling couriers to deliver or collect a parcel from inside their homes while they were out. Around 50 per cent of those surveyed were against it but the other half said they felt comfortable with the idea.
Zalando then set about organising for smart door locks and door bells to be fitted to allow willing customers to remotely open their doors to provide delivery people with access to their homes. Participating customers were asked to order items from Zalando and schedule their deliveries with bpost. In addition they were asked to schedule collections for items they wanted to return. Following the trial 90 per cent of the participants said they would continue to use the technology after the test, as convenience over-ruled any concerns.
Being a limited trial, it is not known how receptive larger groups of customers might be to such a service or how accepting home insurers might be to including the risks associated with unattended in-home deliveries in their customers’ policies. However, for consumers who have had parcels stolen from their doorsteps, which is a considerable problem, or parcels damaged by poor handling it may prove to be a positive alternative.
Zalando’s VP customer fulfilment & logistics commented:”We continuously innovate and rethink our services to offer our customers more flexibility and variety. In-home delivery could be an interesting new option for our service portfolio. Technology opens an array of possibilities but we also see that customers demand transparency and detailed information on the service. Together with bpost, we look forward to engaging in close dialogue with our customers.”