French online retailer Cdiscount is using a new type of smart, reusable packaging for deliveries.
Working with start-up LivingPackets and parcel carrier Chronopost, the retailer is testing a type of package called THE BOX which offers a range of high-tech features. The trial will see Cdiscount using 400 of the boxes in the Bordelaise region.
The packaging offers geolocation during transport using 4G, GPS and WiFi, as well as featuring temperature and humidity sensors. It has built-in security, including a strong locking mechanism, sensors to detect unauthorised opening and an on-board camera.
Each unit can be used for around 1000 deliveries, using a cushioning net to eliminate the use of hard-to-recycle cushioning materials such as plastic bubble wrap, polystyrene or cardboard fibre.
The packaging exists in two formats, one flat version allowing the sending of documents, books and T-shirts and a box version big enough to accommodate two shoe boxes. It is designed to allow customers to fold or unfold the units in less than 5 seconds.
Customers can track the package, including information from the sensors, using the LivingPackets mobile application.
Cdiscount will notify eligible customers by email and SMS that the same-day shipping option is provided via THE BOX.
The trial will collect reactions from customers to the new packaging. The two companies will collaborate further on unspecified initiatives in the first quarter of next year.