E-commerce and drones: the aluminium tube takes flight?

The e-commerce sector is growing rapidly. Especially after the arrival of COVID-19 and during the Christmas period, the number of parcels to be delivered increases dramatically and logistics have to rethink their organisation. Help for the delivery world comes from the sky thanks to drones.   

Due to the pandemic and an increasingly organised e-commerce system, 47% of people say they do more Christmas shopping online than last year. The trend towards online shopping is not the only one that is gaining more and more ground in consumer habits, there is also a marked increase in the focus on eco-sustainable products: 85% of consumers say they prefer items with packaging that has the lowest environmental impact. Being more eco-friendly means reducing emissions and therefore preferring means of transport such as trains or drones.   

In the near future, thanks to the use of drones, parcels will be delivered home more and more frequently in a very short time and anywhere, thanks to the use of drones and new packaging materials

The first to introduce drones to the world of delivery are Amazon, with its Prime Air service, and big names in Chinese e-Commerce who use fleets of drones to cope with the countless deliveries. In September, Jeff Bezos’ giant received the official green light from the Federal Administration Aviation to make deliveries with these 3.0 drones, which represents a momentous change in the world of distribution. Vodafone and Ericsson are also trying their hand in this sector, testing the possibility of offering their services via drone delivery.   

In addition to the big names just mentioned, there are small recent examples that have experimented with the use of drones. In July, in the midst of a health emergency in the United States, the BrewDog beer brand decided to deliver its products directly to consumers’ homes to encourage social distancing with the help of these original drones.   

(Pic: BrewDog)

The use of these 3.0 means of transport not only alleviates the logistics and the pandemic situation, but can also become a tool for the economic survival of small businesses. When the pandemic hit Ireland in March, pubs were among the first to close, leaving 50,000 workers out of work and the population deprived of a part of Irish culture. Pub operators suffered a major financial blow by missing the ‘gold rush’ weekends around St Patrick’s Day and Six Nations rugby matches, while they faced constant pressure to pay rent and utilities. How can we not declare bankruptcy and continue to make a profit? The idea came to the McKeever family’s Bar & Lounge, a 152-year-old pub serving a rural community 50 kilometres north of Dublin. Thanks to a drone, run by his nephew, which crosses the neighborhood with beers hanging from dangling beers, the over 100-year-old pub has survived by continuing to offer a service to its regular customers. 

If up until a couple of years ago it seemed like a fantasy between an advertising stunt and science fiction, today it is a reality approved by regulators in different countries. Tomorrow having e-commerce parcels ordered remotely delivered to your home in a few minutes with a drone will be as normal as today’s deliveries with the postman or courier. This change, however, puts the emphasis on an important issue: packaging.   

If the traditional delivery does not require any special requirements with regard to the packaging of the product being delivered, the same does not apply if the package arrives by air with a drone. It is no coincidence that the two examples mentioned above both refer to canned beers. Aluminium lends itself perfectly to this new type of delivery: light, resistant to temperature changes and atmospheric agents, flexible, hygienic.  And it does not run the risk of shattering due to small impacts, as can happen with glass. All you need is protective packaging and your tube will arrive at its destination easily and safely. 

It also lends itself to an innovative form of product traceability, thanks to the implementation of © StealthCode. It is a code invisible to the human eye that is “hidden” in the printing artwork over the entire surface of the tube. A mobile app detects it and activates the opening of digital connections useful for tracking goods and logistics activities. 

And then… it already has an aerodynamic shape! 😉   

There is no doubt that the aluminium tube also lends itself perfectly to delivery by drone! True 2.0 packaging 

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