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Bpost tests in-home delivery in Belgium

Bpost and Zalando have experimented with in-home delivery and in-home pickup in Belgium. The two companies wanted to know whether consumers are ready to let parcel couriers in their homes while they are away. The test was successful, but there are still many hurdles to overcome.

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Futurelab, the innovation department of logistics player Bpost, reached out to Zalando with the suggestion to work together on an in-home delivery test. The two started the experiment with recruiting participants who were interested.

What happens if the dog escapes?

For the pilot, Bpost and Zalando excluded households with pets, because it was too much of a responsibility to deal with it during the test phase. “This is something that has to be figured out, so it’s good that we’re discovering these questions now”, Patrick Leysen, VP Future Lab at Bpost, says about this subject.

This was just one of several hurdles the two companies encountered during the test in the region of Antwerp. Another major thing to overcome is the fact people might still be very wary of letting strangers in their homes. Bpost and Zalando confirm the experiment was not only about testing the technology, but also about testing customer readiness.

‘Focus experiment was on emotion, not technology’

Remko Bakker of Zalando explains: “The focus of the experiment was on emotion, not technology. If we go back to ecommerce in the ’90s, hearts and minds had to be won before the general public truly embraced online credit card payments. We’ll experience a similar curve with smart home technology and the Internet of Things.”

How Bpost and Zalando have done the experiment

For the test, participants got a smart door lock of Nuki and a smart doorbell of Nest installed on their front doors. They also received an app in which they continuously get updates about the delivery. With this app they were also able to see the courier and speak with him and to unlock the door remotely.

Another interesting thing they’ve encountered while doing this experiment is that there are a lot of different types of doors. Patrick: “It sounds very basic, but it turned out to be a hurdle for us.” And Remko adds: “A door is not exchanged for a newer model in the same way a phone or television is, for example. And in a renting society, the owner of the door is not necessarily the person living in the house.”

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