Volvo / Roam Delivery
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App-based digital key lets shoppers remotely open and lock vehicles to receive online orders while they’re away
Forget getting packages delivered to your front door, and say hello to packages that are delivered to your driver’s side door. Volvo has announced a pilot programme, dubbed ‘Roam Delivery’, that allows shoppers to make purchases online and then have the goods delivered directly to their parked car, via courier.
The service is built upon Volvo’s existing Volvo On Call feature, which allows drivers to monitor and activate certain car features via mobile app – things like turning on the heat, checking fuel levels and calling for roadside assistance. Now, drivers will be able to use Volvo On Call to create a one-time-use digital key, which will be shared with couriers making deliveries. The couriers will be able to locate the vehicle, unlock it and leave packages inside. After a delivery has been made, the digital key is destroyed. Throughout the process, drivers will get updates on when the car has been unlocked and locked, notifying them that the delivery has been made.
‘By turning the car into a pickup and drop-off zone through using digital keys, it’s now possible to deliver the goods to people and not places,’ says Klas Bendrik, Volvo Group’s chief information officer.
Roam Delivery was reportedly developed in response to research that showed 60% of online shoppers were frustrated by the delivery experience. The service has been piloted with 100 drivers, 86 of whom agreed that the service saved them time and money. Volvo unveiled Roam Delivery at Mobile World Congress this week.
Roam Delivery is, essentially, a branded version of Cardrops, the Belgian startup that pioneered this sort of delivery service. We first wrote about Cardrops back in November of 2012. That version of straight-to-auto delivery used a dongle that plugged into any vehicle’s diagnostic port, allowing couriers to find the car and open the boot with the push of a button. Here, Volvo does a nice job of making the whole interaction slightly more digital, with the use of a mobile-generated key that reminds us a bit of Fuse Project’s August smart lock. It’s a great example of a big brand taking notes on small upstarts in its competitive space and figuring out how to build comparable services for its customers.
In many ways, Roam Delivery represents the confluence of two major shifts that have become key selling points in recent months: last mile delivery and tech-infused automotives. Car brands have been increasingly using technology platforms (think Ford’s AppSYNC) to hype their vehicle lines. Meanwhile, the delivery wars have heated up with last mile solutions from brands like Amazon and DHL. Volvo does a nice job dovetailing the two concepts into a solid value proposition for existing customers. It’s not a completely new idea, but it is a well-timed launch that can seamlessly integrate with the brand’s existing tech platform.
Volvo On Call
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