Smart Cars to take DHL package deliveries in German pilot
DHL Parcel and automobile manufacturer Smart have announced a joint pilot in which Smart Car owners can use their vehicles as mobile addresses for package delivery.
Smart Car drivers in the German town of Stuttgart will be the first to test the technology in autumn of this year. The pilot will later be expanded to Bonn, Berlin and Cologne.
Both the driver and the DHL parcel courier use specially-designed apps to coordinate the delivery. The vehicle owner uses the Smart app to generate a single-use transaction authorisation number, which they enter in the "c/o" box when declaring their delivery address for purchases in an online shop.
The DHL courier is informed of the preferred delivery location via his or her own app, which then grants limited-time access to the recipient’s car. The single-use authorisation number the online shopper enters when placing their order enables the courier to locate and open the vehicle within a restricted period of time.
Once the courier has access to the trunk of the car, a parcel can be delivered or a shipment received for return. When the courier closes the trunk, the number authorising entry is cancelled. A push notification sent via the app notifies the car owner that the delivery has taken place.
"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."
Pandora and IBM digitise jewellery supply chain
Pandora has overhauled its global supply chain in partnership with IBM amid an ecommerce sales boom for its hand-finished jewellery.
The company found international success offering customisable charm bracelets and other personalised jewellery though its chain of bricks and mortar retail destinations. But in 2020, as the COVID-19 outbreak forced physical stores to close, Pandora strengthened its omnichannel operations and doubled online sales.
A focus on customer experience included deploying IBM’s Sterling Order Management, increasing supply chain resiliency and safeguarding against disruption across the global value chain.
Pandora leverages IBM Sterling Order Management as the backbone it its omnichannel fulfilment, with Salesforce Commerce Cloud powering its ecommerce. Greater automation across its channels has boosted the jeweller’s sustainability credentials, IBM said, streamlining processes for more efficient delivery. It has also given in-store staff and virtual customer service representatives superior end-to-end visibility to better meet consumer needs.
Jim Cruickshank, VP of Digital Development & Retail Technology, Pandora, said the digital transformation journey has brought “digital and store technology closer together and closer to the customer”, highlighting how important the customer journey remains, even during unprecedented disruption.
"Our mission is about creating a personal experience and we've instituted massive platform changes with IBM Sterling and Salesforce to enable new digital-first capabilities that are much more individualised, localised and connected across channels and markets,” he added.
Pandora’s pivot to digital
The pandemic forced the doors closed at most of Pandora’s 2,700 retail locations. To remain competitive, it pivoted to online retail. Virtual queuing for stores and virtual product trials via augmented reality (AR) technology went someway to emulating the in-store experience and retail theatre that is the brand’s hallmark. Meanwhile digital investments in supply chain efficiency was central to delivering on consumer demand.
“Consumer behaviour has significantly shifted and will continue to evolve with businesses needing to quickly adapt to new preferences and needs,” said Kareem Yusuf, General Manager, AI Applications and Blockchain, IBM. “To address this shift, leading retailers like Pandora rely on innovation to increase their business agility by enabling and scaling sustainable supply chain operations using AI and cloud.”
Yusuf said Pandora’s success was indicative of how to remain competitive by “finding new ways to create differentiated customer experiences that protect their enterprises from disruptions to help mitigate risk and accelerate growth”.