Shoppers can allay the fulfilment angst associated with online purchasing, provided they're prepared to fork out $500 for a wireless electronic delivery box, the ezzebox.
The weatherproof safe-like unit, coined by Australian startup ezzebox, is based on a proprietary wireless access system. Once the consumer's purchase is executed on or offline, an automated SMS, email or pager message (with a $1 charge) routes to the customer from the ezzebox business partner, ensuring them next-day delivery of goods.
Once the delivery is made to the ezzebox by the courier and the box is securely shut, an automated notification message is sent to the customer's email address, pager number or mobile phone.
Customers can retrieve their goods from the box by entering a randomly generated security code on the keypad. Each code is valid for one delivery only.
In turn, the courier company and retailer are notified electronically of the retrieval.
Darren Geros, a co-director at ezzebox, said the device had high tamper "tolerance" -- it could not be forced open even with a crowbar, he claimed. If tampered with, an inbuilt modem in the unit sends a message to the courier company and e-tailer notifying them the delivery process has been violated.
Company executives claim the ezzebox provides the "missing link" in online shopping: the fulfilment phase.
Of consumers recently polled by ezzebox, 78 per cent said they were prepared to pay $500 for the service if it meant they would be guaranteed next-day delivery of their order, according to Linda Chapman, a company director.
Moreover, www.consult's Online Shopping Fulfilment Survey: May 2000 showed that 97 per cent of consumers would purchase goods online more frequently if they could be assured of secure delivery and product fulfilment from the distributor.
Research from the Boston Consulting Group earlier this year showed that over 68 per cent of purchases from both e-tailers and bricks-and-mortar stores in Australia were redelivered due to unattended delivery destinations, costing businesses $10.2 million in redelivery.
"The burgeoning cost of redelivery is seriously eroding the retailers' bottom line," an ezzebox spokeswoman said.
Consumers' lack of faith in retailers' ability to provide secure delivery would drive 27 per cent of ezzebox customers to purchase offline, according to Chapman, who cited the consumers' need to "stay housebound in a window of time" as the biggest turn-off.
Chapman was confident the ezzebox would become a household name for the time-poor, cash-rich, double-income set, 5000 of whom she estimates will own the product in the next year. The box will also be available for rent at central holding pods nationwide.
The Strathfield Group, Cellar Masters, adultshop.com, Ezishop.com.au and dstore will resell the ezzebox solution online, according to Darren Geros, a director at ezzebox.
The company also plans to negotiate online distribution partnerships with Myer Direct, DavidJones.com.au and Harris Technology, Geros said.
The ezzebox will be launched in December.