Parcelhome.com, an Irish high-tech start-up, has developed a connected letterbox that is bound to change home delivery dramatically. The parcelhome.com unit, easily installed next to your front door or in your front yard, is able to receive 95% of all parcel deliveries. What makes parcelhome.com’s unit different is that it is both secure and easy to integrate for carriers, thus fulfilling the promise of a universally accessible package box. Carriers DHL Parcel, GLS and DPD have seized this opportunity to improve their service to consumers. Their pilot with parcelhome.com is a world first collaboration in the field of smart package boxes shared amongst multiple carriers.
At present, 15% of packages cannot be delivered on the first attempt, and in some residential areas up to 50% of deliveries fail. Both carriers and customers lose when no one is home to receive the parcel. Concerns about delivery and complex returns from home are key reasons for consumers to stay away from purchasing goods online.
Parcelhome.com has developed a breakthrough way to solve both problems at once. With its smart letterbox, this start-up has developed a package delivery system at home that both delivery services and recipients can open using a smartphone app. Their technology is the result of 18 months of research and development and is covered by multiple patents.
Pilot manager and parcelhome.com GM for Benelux Luc van Bosstraeten explains: “It is as simple to use as your letterbox, but it contains breakthrough technology. You can use the system to allow package carriers and even local shops to deliver their products at home. The only thing the deliverer needs is the parcelhome.com app. For instance, in the course of the pilot we will also trial delivery of local goods, such as bakery and dry cleaning. The system is totally secure and works with dynamic codes comparable to the codes used in online banking. The built-in scale issues a receipt, and the system can receive multiple packages from different carriers. As soon as a package is placed in the parcelhome.com unit, the addressee is notified.”
This means that customers know exactly when a package has arrived or been picked up and what each carrier has done. Thanks to the scale, it is easy to send and return parcels. The parcelhome.com unit calculates the delivery fee and franks the package, a carrier then comes and picks it up.
DHL, GLS and DPD are testing parcelhome.com’s system in a pilot with 100 households in Mechelen, a city nearby Brussels. From May until July these online shoppers will have the opportunity to experience real home delivery and share feedback on the service.
“It is high time for something like this,” says trial participant Gilles Van der Planken from Duffel. “My wife and I both work away from home. We order items online several times a month, from coffee capsules to nose spray to children’s toys. Having to drive somewhere to pick up a parcel is annoying. I hope that from now on ‘home delivery’ will mean that items are actually delivered to our home.”
A smart package box that can accept deliveries from multiple carriers is clearly advantageous for consumers. It also has an additional environmental benefit. A delivery success rate of 100% means considerable reductions in C02 emissions, but what really makes this project unique is the fact that different carriers are co-operating for greater customer satisfaction. They clearly see that parcelhome.com is key to the future of e-commerce.
“Customers dislike the limitations of online shopping. They want their products to arrive quickly and safely,” says CEO Luc De Schrijver of GLS. “People don’t want to organise solutions, work around time slots, take half a day off or ask neighbours or friends to wait around. Thanks to parcelhome.com, they no longer have to.”
Jan Van Roey, CEO of DHL Parcel Belgium, agrees. “Customer convenience is central to this project. We see the parcelhome.com concept as an ideal supplement to our extensive Parcelshop network in Belgium. Both initiatives provide maximum accessibility and efficiency for customers, suppliers and parcel services.”
DPD considers the smart box a perfect addition to the market. DPD’s Belgian CEO Marc Morioux explains: “Alongside our existing delivery services for the B2C market, such as the European Parcelshop Network, DPD sees parcelhome.com as an interesting option for expanding our existing B2C delivery services.”
“If the trial goes well we hope to expand rapidly,” says Greg Mackin, parcelhome.com’s CEO. “We want to cover Benelux by the end of this year, then move into France and the UK.”