Does any online vendor need to know where you live and when you move and who you would like to send a present to ?
Isn’t that you having to pay the shipping anyway !??
Furthermore with every new online shop one buys from, a new transmission risk is brought up; even less in terms of loosing or unwillingly leaking the data, as much more in the forms of typos and misspellings going to prevent successful execution of the order itself.
Well, admittedly, as of this writing, in most parts of the world the seller needs to know where to ship the items you ordered alongside with the obligatory invoice — and he likes it that way.
Especially, as this will also make sure that all his colorful prospectuses will reach you reliably as well.
Nevertheless: From all orders made over the web, most deliveries are likely to be executed by no more than a fistful of forwarding agencies.
So why shouldn’t you simply tell them the shipping details ? This would both protect your privacy and likely reduce errors in address transmission (a common cause of failed delivery) to a minimum. If they get your address right once, it is secured they have it until you decide to move for the next time or ask for deletion.
Or you may even make shipping providers subscribe to a machine-readable address profile of you on the web (as you probably may already have one with online social networks such as LinkedIN or XING) to make sure their information is always up to date. Want to send a present for a colleague ? Just drag in you buddy’s address card from Facebook.
Reliable information exchange has never been easier and more secure.
The outcome concerning the shipping process now could be, just to stick an RFID tag or old-fashioned barcode label (as both are already quite common today) to the parcel and let you forward its identifier to the corresponding delivery service from right inside the checkout process. Approved transmission of your shipping information as being required by either the shop owner or the shipping provider can then be securely handled browser-based via a traditional web form (for instance, using the mentioned OpenID approach).
Too complex an idea to hope for a commercially reasonable adoption rate and timeframe ?
Then please take a look at Mumbai’s Dabbawala Association for instance. For more than a century now, this cooperative has delivered home-cooked food; first to the British colonial rulers and from mid-twentieth century then to Mumbai’s business people, building right from the beginning on exactly the before mentioned cooperative distribution model, where you tell the shipping provider instead of the producer, which destination you want the final product to be delivered.
Dabbawalas may use colors and symbols instead of fashionable barcode or RFID tags, but the delivery concept has been the same for more than a hundred years now — so it can indeed be considered a ‘proven’ business model. As every single of the peer-to-peer deliverer knows his or her local district like the back of his hand, the cooperative delivers at a so sensationally low error rate, that any western parcel service may quite well take a leaf out of their book. Continuously rating at a full “Six Sigma” reliability with renowned consultancies, the association lately began to take online orders via their website or even via SMS from mobile phones. They also started opening their P2P delivery network e.g. to grocery businesses, so you can now get your daily dose of fresh veggies shipped directly to your cubicle as well.To the customers’ delight,
Ordering via Dabbawalas also comes with a very transparent pricing model: The daily services are traditionally being provided at a monthly flat rate of around 300 rupees, locally perceived as something like € 6 (a de-facto even cheaper real price of around € 5 at current exchange rates). Newly additional services like delivering banking receipts or address confirmation of contract partners are being added to the traditional offerings as well — at reasonable surcharges.
An example for how deploying these concepts of ‘cooperative logistics’ (if you come up with a more suitable term for it, please let me know…) for short range to-your-door distribution in other parts of the world may spur entirely new business concepts (probably riding on the current growing demand for customized goods with its often numerous ‘long tail’-biz actors) while empowering the more traditional models with better service at their endpoints.
Too bad, we just paid a whopping € 2.60 handling fee on our two pizzas ordered to the office today…