Time to track the consumer?

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There was a time when it was considered cutting edge for a parcels company to be able to keep track of its parcels. But things move on and now, it seems, the really important thing is to track the recipients.

Malory Davies FCILT, Editor.

Malory Davies FCILT, Editor.

That is just what DPD is doing with a new app. It describes the app as ‘ground-breaking’ and for once, that description might just be right.

The app offers a whole range of functions that allow consumers to set their delivery preferences. The ‘ground-breaking” part is that it can use the geo-location information that smartphones provide to tell the driver when the app user returns home.

If a parcel couldn’t be successfully delivered earlier in the day, the driver can make another delivery before finishing the round. The app user is sent a notification to advise that the driver is returning with the parcel.

The biggest problem in home delivery is the fact that the recipient is not there to accept the goods, so, tracking the consumer is a logical move.

There will be those who might be concerned that there is something “big brother-ish” about this. But, of course, the consumer has to opt in. The consumer has to choose to download the app and to allow that information to be made available to the carrier. Consumers seem surprisingly happy to give this kind of information, so there is no reason why this app should not be a success.

The next question is, can you go any further with this? If your driver can see that the recipient for a package is sitting in the local Starbucks rather that waiting patiently at home, would it not make sense to make the drop there – if it is on the route?

There are clearly limits to what is viable – after all you can’t have delivery vans chasing consumers around the country. But if consumers are willing to be tracked, it could open the way to ever more innovative delivery services.

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