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Parcelforce Worldwide has made its Photo on Delivery feature available for all domestic services. Customers will now have visibility of photos captured at the point of delivery for items delivered to a recipient’s address, neighbour or nominated safe place.

The photos are now available for customers to access on the Parcelforce website, via the customer confirmation of delivery email and the customer dashboard via click through to tracking. A signature will also be displayed where a photo is not captured, for example for drop off at Parcelforce depots.

Parcelforce said for recipients this provides an improved customer experience, with additional reassurance from seeing a photograph of the item delivered. For senders, having access to these photographs can help with denial of receipt claims and customer contact questioning the location of an order.

Aaron Barnes, managing director from Parcelforce Worldwide, said: “At Parcelforce, we are on a journey to enhance our products and services that we offer for both sending and receiving customers. By providing a photo on delivery, it ensures customers have an enhanced delivery experience and as a sender, reassurance that items have been delivered.”

Proof of delivery
Reassurance of delivery is becoming increasingly important to consumers. A Retail TouchPoints survey found 51% of consumers want real-time visibility into the status of their orders. This is unsurprising with a rise in parcels failing to arrive. Some 73% of consumers believe that more parcels are going missing during the cost-of-living crisis.

Cost pressures, a return to the office and delivery disruption caused by strike action have all been cited for an increase in missing parcels. In June, a Metapack report recorded a 59% jump in the number of claims for missing parcels compared with the previous 12 months.

While, in-flight emails can keep consumers informed with the parcels progress many carriers are introducing photographic evidence of delivery – whether to a person or “safe place”.

In March, Royal Mail extended its photo capture to a number of premium services where a signature is also captured.

“By adding photo on delivery to even more products we are continuing to deliver on our commitment to offer even more trust on the doorstep,” said Nick Landon, chief commercial officer at Royal Mail.

Introducing photographic proof of delivery could go someway to increasing consumer confidence, however there are multiple reports of the images showcasing that the parcel has been delivered to the wrong person or location.

An AI-powered solution
As with any introduction of a new service, the photographic proof of delivery will continue to evolve and improve. The advancements of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine vision could provide a solution. This technology is being trialled by Evri to further improve its proof of delivery photos. Evri has developed Parcel Vision, a AI-powered software trained on thousands of safe place photos to be able to identify issues with the photo.

The software will detect any issues, such as if the parcel is not clearly visible, too close to the lens or the camera lens covered. It alerts the courier explaining the problem and asks them to retake the photo. It may be this combination between technology and courier that improves proof of delivery.