The coronavirus pandemic, which has lasted for almost two years, has made serious adjustments to the habitual way of life of people around the world, including Azerbaijan. Such expressions as “observance of social distance”, “mandatory wearing of masks”, “covid-passports” have entered our lexicon and become familiar…
There is nothing to be done: the coronavirus existence is increasingly determining our consciousness. Before the Azerbaijanis had time to get used to the Delta strain, the country was overwhelmed by the Omicron, with the appearance of which the number of infected people sharply increased, which significantly actualized the need for a responsible approach of citizens to quarantine measures and issues of social isolation.
But following the logic of folk wisdom, according to which there is no silver lining, it should be recognized that the phenomenon of the pandemic in Azerbaijan has also played a positive role. In particular, this concerns the dynamic development of certain areas, including e-commerce. Indeed, if earlier Baku residents could afford to spend hours wandering around shopping centers, meticulously picking up the next new thing or a gift for loved ones, today more and more trade transactions are carried out via the Internet.
The number of people who understand the peculiarities of e-commerce and know exactly how to order things in online stores is multiplying exponentially. Suffice it to recall the excitement caused by the recent depreciation of the Turkish lira, when hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis literally flooded the Internet, vying with each other to order cheaper goods from Turkey. And the picture of long queues of customers who line up at the offices of logistics companies for parcels ordered on the Internet has become familiar and even mundane.
Meanwhile, the growth of e-commerce has brought with it the development of another service sector – courier delivery. Today, almost all stores or restaurants that sell products via the Internet use the services of courier services that deliver ordered goods to customers.
According to various estimates, a courier has to cover an average distance of 800 meters to deliver one product. With hundreds of thousands of daily online purchases, it’s not hard to imagine how thousands of couriers on scooters and mopeds are complicating the already congested traffic on the streets of Baku. Given that the volume of e-commerce in Azerbaijan continues to grow rapidly, the number of motorized couriers on the streets of Baku will only increase.
And this is a very serious problem, which the domestic startup Poste volunteered to solve, planning for the first time in Azerbaijan to start the mass installation of special parcel lockers in Baku – devices for automatic delivery of parcels without the participation of couriers or other employees. The project saw the light on the initiative of the company Logistics and cargo transportation “166”.
Postamats, through which all firms will be able to sell their goods, is a huge automated cabinet with built-in cells of different sizes, a console panel and a touch screen to control the process of receiving a parcel.
The Poste company plans to start installing the first parcel lockers in March this year and promises that it will be very easy to find them, since parcel lockers will be installed throughout the capital within a 10-minute accessibility zone.
The company also assures that the procedure for using the postamat is quite simple, so that it will not be difficult for the recipients of the parcels to understand the principles of operation of this mechanism.
The procedure itself is just as simple. When buying any product in an online store, any Internet user can activate the “Send via Poste” service, after which the ordered parcel arrives at the cargo company, which will place it in the nearest parcel terminal, and the buyer will be sent his location and a QR code, with with which you can pick up the parcel yourself.
Thus, the buyer no longer has to wait for the arrival of the courier. And given that all parcel terminals will work 24/7, he will be able to choose the time convenient for himself to collect the parcel.
Postamats will also be very useful for small businesses who cannot afford to pay for courier deliveries.
As you know, most of the goods are sold today through special pages on Facebook or İnstagram. Thus, parcel machines will become a kind of contactless intermediaries between the seller and the buyer. A high level of protection and round-the-clock video surveillance guarantee the safety of the goods to both the seller and the buyer.
In many countries of Europe and the Far East, representatives of small and medium-sized businesses have long appreciated the advantages of parcel lockers over the courier delivery system. Which is not surprising, because they allow entrepreneurs to reduce the cost of organizing delivery, reduce the cost of renting retail space and staff, as well as increase the ability of points of sale to work 24/7.
And in Azerbaijan, Poste is a pioneer in this area. Hopefully, its innovative entry into the consumer service market will spur competition in the parcel delivery industry.