Czech e-shop plans drone deliveries

The law still needs to be changed for deliveries to go beyond a testing stage

Mall.cz, the second-largest online store in the Czech Republic, will start testing drone delivery this week. The drone service will reduce costs and increase the speed of deliveries. Mall.cz will be the first Czech e-shop to try this method, but in other countries it has been tried by Amazon, DHL and the Swiss Post.

The test program by Mall.cz is being conducted under the supervision of the Civil Aviation Authority (ÚCL) because current legislation does not allow for drone delivery. Changing the law will take a long time, Mall Group head Jakub Havrlant told the media, adding that participating in testing was an essential step and the experience gained would be useful for all parties involved.

The deliveries will be up to 2 kilograms, a weight that covers some 80 percent of online orders. Drone service will originate at the Mall.cz distribution center in Jirny u Prahy, and customers can track the process over Facebook page for Mall.cz or a separate website. The goal of the test is to be able to verify and track the entire process from receiving the order to its delivery.

Mall.cz announced earlier this month that it was starting its most expensive Christmas campaign ever, and was launching a special site where people could register what their holiday wishes were. Spending on the campaign will be 30 percent more than last year, and it will be supported with TV, print, online and outdoor advertising. It is part of several new measures to expand the presence of Mall Group.

Mall.cz since July has been under new management. Investment group Rockaway announced Aug. 1 that it had completed acquisition of a network of online shopping sites including Mall.cz and was creating Mall Group, which would focus on the Central and Eastern European online market, as well as the Czech market. This is the most significant investment of Rockaway to date. The transaction was realized with the financial support of Daniel Křetínský, Patrik Tkáč and investment group PPF.

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