Contactless delivery

What is contactless delivery?

Deliveries are known as contactless when no physical contact occurs between the delivery person and recipient. This delivery method became necessary during the COVID 19 health crisis for packages that did not fit into letterboxes. It is made possible thanks to digital innovations.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, any deliveries which used to be done in person resorted to IT solutions to help avoid spreading the virus. Some solutions are still being tested, and others already work remarkably well. They have changed our relationship to the e-commerce world, by completely removing the only human link that bounds the company to its end customer.

This kind of delivery will no doubt become more and more widespread, thus eliminating former delivery methods that required a handwritten signature. During the lockdown period, home deliveries appeared as essential operations; they were authorised, but contact with the delivery person was readjusted. Preserving worker and customer health is a key factor. Contactless deliveries therefore became increasingly frequent, using electronic signatures instead of manual ones.


Specificities of contactless delivery

The French Government ruled on the “Health and safety precautions to be complied with when delivering packages”. Conditions are as follows:

  • Respecting social distancing between the delivery person and customer is essential;
  • The package must not be delivered directly from hand to hand;
  • No handwritten signatures. This comes as a real change in terms of administration and law.


Examples and practical applications

Digital solutions for certifying delivery

  • The most efficient digital solution comes from Switzerland: they have a free application (at the time this article was written) specialised in reading bar codes, so deliveries can be carried out safely. Customers use their smartphone to scan a QR code presented by the delivery person. The customer then scans the bar code (Gencod) on the package, and lastly signs using their finger (still on their phone) to confirm the delivery took place.
  • Customers give their consent beforehand for , and tell the delivery person exactly where to leave the package (on the doorstep or in the courtyard for instance). Next, the delivery person takes a photo of the package placed on the customer’s doorstep. The photo serves as a signature.
  • Another possibility is for the customer to sign the package’s label instead of the company’s digital terminal. The delivery person then takes a photo of the signature to finalise delivery.
  • There is also a similar alternative: the customer can present their ID and a photo can be taken. No one other than the customer can present their ID, except in the case of fraud;
  • Lastly, the customer can print out and fill in an authorisation form so the package can be placed somewhere the delivery person can easily find;
  • The delivery person’s geo-location serves as proof of delivery.

If they are to become standard, will these solutions change relations between companies and customers? Who will show proof of delivery in its legal sense if there is a dispute?

Another delivery method previously studied before the pandemic based on mechanical means instead of human ones. Indeed, drones would do all the deliveries. They have been useful in transporting medical equipment in China during the health crisis.


Contactless delivery in figures in France

  • In 2019, 100 billion euros in turnover were registered thanks to online sales;
  • E-buyers have multiplied e-commerce revenue by 100 in the space of 20 years;
  • 85% of websites registered longer delivery lead times in 2020.


Regulatory cornerstones

  • EU Regulation no. 2018/644 issued by the European Parliament and Council on 18 April 2018, pertaining to cross-border package deliveries.
  • Health and safety precautions to be complied with when delivering packages.
  • Consumption code, articles L-216-1 to L-216-6.
  • Civil Code, article 1610.


Source of the figures: /