Electrolux solves delivery problem for Internet shopping

(ELUX) Electrolux has unveiled the first prototype of its Unattended Delivery Unit (UDU), claiming that this is a household appliance truly generated by the Internet age.

The UDU is designed to stand outside a house or apartment and receive deliveries from online retailers or other sources, even when the householder is not at home. Essentially, it is a secure container, with three temperature controlled compartments, for chilled foods, frozen foods and ambient temperature goods, such as books, videos or even dry-cleaning. The three compartments can hold up to 200 litres, or around 7-9 standard grocery bags of shopping.

When placing an order for goods which need to be delivered, the householder automatically creates a ‘one time code’, which is then transmitted to retailer when they place their order via internet, phone, or fax. The code is then sent to the UDU from the management system by SMS so that it is ready for the delivery. The code is included on the delivery note and can then be used by the delivery operative to open the UDU and make their delivery. When they close the door, the code is automatically cleared and a message sent to the householder via their mobile phone. The management system keeps a full record of all activity so the householder, retailer and delivery company have a full and traceable record of what has been delivered, by whom and when.

Electrolux is confident that the UDU will have enormous benefits for shoppers, for the companies they buy from and for the delivery industry.

Consumers who already shop online will no longer have to stay at home to receive their purchases, or make complicated arrangements to collect their goods from some other location, while those people who do not currently shop online will be encouraged to do so. Equally, people who do not want to shop online, but who still want to make more efficient use of retailers and local service organisations which do not have an online capacity, will be able to use the UDU – for example, to receive dry cleaning or library books.

For the retail industry, the benefits are also potentially enormous. The UDU will become the missing link that finally completes the chain from online shop to online shopper, dramatically reducing the cost and complexity of fulfilling orders. Several recent surveys have shown that a significant percentage of online orders are either incorrectly completed or not fulfilled at all, and this has unquestionably held back the development of the online retail sector as a whole.

Says Michael Treschow, President and CEO of the Electrolux group: ‘The UDU is both very simple and very clever. It is a perfect example of our philosophy of intelligent living in which we use design and technology to make everyday life simpler, more convenient and less stressful.’

Electrolux is now field-testing the UDU among a test group of its own employees in Stockholm, including singles and couples, with and without children. Their views will be incorporated in further refinements before the product is launched to the general public. The company is also holding discussions with retailers and delivery companies to ensure that they and their customers are able to get the maximum benefit from this unique new appliance.

Photos are available at www.sthlms-reprografen.se/electrolux/UDU.html

For further information contact:
Graham Drage, +44 410 301 449