Parcel company Hermes is embedding social distancing in the last mile amidst the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, allowing couriers to confirm receipt of parcels using a photo as well as adding more parcel delivery lockers.
In the UK, the company has worked with InPost to add new lockers at a number of outdoor, bringing the total from 450 to 831 across the country.
The locations allow customers to input a code or scan a QR code to open the locker in order to either retrieve or deposit a parcel. Locations of the new lockers are available online.
Martijn de Lange, CEO at Hermes UK, said: “As the country adapts to changes around social distancing and self-isolation, we are providing more delivery options for customers across the country.
“We would ask people to use the lockers sensibly and to be mindful of the government advice regarding essential travel and suggest that customers might consider using this service as part of their daily exercise routine.
“This is also important as some of our independent ParcelShops may be subject to changing opening times or closure as things develop and we are urging customers to double check ParcelShop openings before they travel to them.”
In Germany, meanwhile, Hermes has introduced a new way of signing for a parcel which aims to retain the security benefits of signing while reducing contact between courier and customer.
Customers acknowledge their receipt directly on the label of their parcel rather than on the courier’s scanner. The courier then photographs the signature and information on the label so that the delivery is documented.
Hermes is able to make use of its 18000 scanners in the country since they are all fitted with cameras.
Marco Schlüter, COO at Hermes Germany, said: “This new form of contactless parcel acceptance enables personal delivery at your front door while maintaining the current urgently required distance from other people. The most important thing is that we are doing everything conceivable to ensure that there is the least possible chance of couriers and customers being able to infect each other.”
Schlüter added: “In the current situation, we benefit from the fact that we have been consistently digitising the delivery process in recent years. This means that we are now in a position to react quickly and with a high degree of customer focus. We managed to bring this new solution from the idea to development and into operational use within a matter of days.”
The news follows Royal Mail in the UK removing the need for a signature altogether, replacing it with the recipient simply giving their name.