UK department store John Lewis has teamed up with Jaguar Land Rover’s mobility and venture arm InMotion, to trial delivery to shoppers’ car boots.
Enabled via start-up toBoot, which is supported by InMotion, the service places a “smart box” in the customer’s vehicle that allows them to add it as a delivery destination. A courier then receives a GPS location of the car along with the registration number and a one-time code that permits them access into the boot.
The customer in the meantime is sent real-time updates on their mobile, including order confirmation through to a final photo confirming successful delivery and the secure locking of their car thereafter.
Deliveries to a car boot aren’t entirely new in concept. Amazon started testing a service in partnership with Audi and DHL in 2015, while Daimler, Volvo and Volkswagen have also run pilot projects. This however is reportedly the first one trialled in the UK.
The concept was first tested in 2016 with a small-scale feasibility study that saw John Lewis packages delivered to Jaguar Land Rover staff. It will now roll out to a wider group of Jaguar Land Rover customers later this year, with John Lewis confirmed as an ongoing partner.
John Vary, innovation manager at John Lewis said: “We’re excited by how new technologies can help us create new, convenient options for our customers, so when Jaguar Land Rover approached us about this idea we were excited to work with them to test the concept. Having deliveries made to your car boot has the potential to be a major breakthrough.”
Of the trial, Drummond Gilbert, CEO of toBoot, said the team gained a huge amount of insight and learnings. “These include the need to conduct more frequent location checks on the vehicle in the run-up to delivering a parcel in order to avoid a customer driving off just as the parcel arrived for delivery,” he explained. “Also, from the trial involving staff at Jaguar Land Rover HQ we conducted the most stringent of GPS tests – trying to find one Jaguar or Land Rover vehicle in a car park full of them means your GPS has to be extremely accurate! As trials progress to a wider audience we will continue to learn and adapt our approach in order to deliver the best possible experience for our customer.”
Long-term you won’t have to own a Jaguar Land Rover car to be able to use such a delivery method either. According to the toBoot website, the system itself is in fact brand agnostic – it works on almost all cars manufactured since 2002. It can also be used for any delivery service from DHL, DPD, Parcelforce, TNT, UKMail, UPS or Yodel. “The long-term ambition is to deliver a fantastic service not just for [Jaguar Land Rover and John Lewis] customers, but for anyone who can benefit from the convenient, secure new delivery option toBoot is building,” Gilbert added.
This story first appeared on Forbes