FedEx made quite the splash in the shipping world this week. On June 22, 2022, the company announced that it would be launching picture proof of delivery. That is to say, coming this holiday season, whenever FedEx drops a package off on your porch, they will take a photo and send it to you to prove that your purchase or gift has arrived.
FedEx is not the first company to use picture proof of delivery, nor are they going to be the last company in the industry to adopt the practice. Indeed, providing picture proof of delivery is an emerging trend in the fulfillment world. In this brief blog post, we’re going to talk about how this works, what it means, who’s doing it, why they’re doing it, and how this all affects your business.
What is picture proof of delivery and how does it work?
The concept behind picture proof of delivery is very simple. When a package is delivered to your doorstep – or a customer’s doorstep – a photo is taken to prove that it has been delivered. The photo inevitably will not just show the package, but a little bit of the surrounding area so that a customer can see exactly where the package has been dropped off as well. The photo proof is then sent by email to the recipient, giving them visual confirmation of a package’s arrival.
Who is providing picture proof of delivery?
Amazon has been providing picture proof of delivery since at least 2018 via UPS. While the practice was originally controversial, it has gained mainstream acceptance and other carriers are starting to do the same, notably including FedEx.
Why are companies providing picture proof of delivery?
The reasons for picture proof of delivery are twofold. First, it’s an easy way to assure nervous package recipients that their items have arrived. In this way, it is a logical extension of tracking numbers, which have existed for a long time. It also gives recipients an easy way to see where packages have been dropped off, meaning that those with big homes with multiple different package drop-off points won’t have to hunt for their packages.
As for the companies providing the service, anything that takes care of nervous customers is obviously good. It cuts down on customer service inquiries and the costs associated with them.
Lastly, picture proof of delivery may also function as a way to combat porch pirates – people who steal packages from other people’s porches. Photographic evidence showing delivery could protect FedEx, UPS, and other carriers from liability for stolen packages, cutting down on their expenses. However, it is also possible that carriers could continue paying for stolen packages, knowing that picture proof of delivery is a good deterrent on its own against porch piracy.
How this will affect your business
If you run an eCommerce business, odds are good that you use either UPS or FedEx for shipping. That means picture proof of delivery will likely be applied to items sent out by your company. This may improve customer experience without you having to do anything!
Additionally, you may find yourself replacing fewer packages as porch pirates begin to realize that it’s harder to get away with theft undetected. However, it remains to be seen whether carriers will continue to absorb the cost of stolen packages or pass the cost onto merchants or even recipients. It’s hard to say, but the norms will become clear as picture proof of delivery becomes more common.