An expanded market test will be conducted in the German town of Stuttgart in autumn this year. The car drop service will be offered a few months later in Bonn, Berlin and Cologne. By attracting several hundred participants in each city, partners DHL Parcel and Smart aim to collect feedback under near-reality conditions. Smart owners wanting to take part in the pilot can go to www.smart.com/drop for information and submit their applications from September. Installation of the devices needed to participate in the pilot will be performed at local distributors, with Smart assuming the costs. When registering their car for the pilot with Smart, customers can also fill out the necessary DHL car-trunk delivery agreement in just a few simple steps. DHL Parcel’s customer portal www.paket.de has been linked with Smart’s own customer portal to combine the two processes into one.
“As a leader of innovation in the parcel sector, with DHL Parcel we are pursuing the goal of developing new ideas to supplement our diverse range of solutions to make it easier to send and receive a parcel, and to personalize the process to meet customers’ needs,” says Jürgen Gerdes, CEO Post – eCommerce – Parcel at Deutsche Post DHL Group. “Having successfully tested car-trunk deliveries as part of a pilot in Germany, we are using the knowledge we have gained to work with Smart to develop a new and attractive service for a young, extremely online savvy target group.”
Smart CEO Annette Winkler agrees: “With the new service, we are expanding the ways in which our vehicles can be used to offer a broader mobility model that goes beyond the car itself. The pilot also kicks off our campaign to improve the quality of urban life.”
Smartphone based solution
The joint solution from Smart and DHL Paket is smartphone based, with the Smart driver and the DHL parcel courier using specially designed apps. The vehicle owner uses the Smart app to generate a single-use transaction authorization number (TAN) which they enter in the “c/o” box when stating their delivery address for purchases in an online shop. For the car drop to take place, the vehicle simply has to be parked in the vicinity of the owner’s home address.
The DHL parcel courier is informed of the preferred delivery location via an app, receiving time-limited access to the recipient’s car. The single-use TAN the online shopper enters when placing their order enables the courier to locate and open the vehicle within a set period of time. Having gained access to the trunk, the courier can either deposit a parcel or retrieve a shipment for return. Once the courier closes the trunk, the TAN authorizing them access is cancelled. A push message sent via the app notifies the car owner that the delivery has taken place.
By allowing customers to use their cars as mobile delivery addresses, DHL Paket is adding yet another attractive option to its unique range of automated parcel receipt services in Germany. With the DHL Packstation service, parcel boxes for single-dwelling and multiple-dwelling homes, deliveries to a predefined, preferred location – plus car-trunk deliveries to Smart cars from autumn onwards – DHL Paket serves growing consumer demands for more mobility and more flexibility in meeting their every-day needs.