Convenient Delivery

RETAIL SOLUTIONSParcel lockers provide customers with a free, convenient delivery option and easy returns process. By Bianca Herron

Since Amazon joined the retail industry, the company has been pushing the envelope. First there was two-day shipping, which was an amazing breakthrough for customers. Now, national retailers like Wal-Mart and Best Buy are making this delivery service commonplace.

With Amazon’s introduction into the parcel locker sector, now is the time to jump into this convenient delivery and returns service not only to compete, but also to save money, according to Vice President of Product at ProShip Inc. Tim Casey.

“Amazon leads the curve in the retail industry,” Casey says. “With the company introducing its own parcel lockers, it’s vital retailers do the same. Retailers are able to customize parcel lockers with their own brand and a configuration that works for their parcel sizes.

“Not only will retailers benefit from further brand recognition, but customers can also have the added convenience of picking up and returning their orders on their own time when it’s convenient for them,” Casey continues.

A “Win-Win”

Parcel lockers provide customers with a free, convenient delivery option and easy returns process, Casey adds. According to UPS, more than half of shoppers are interested in an alternate delivery location with extended hours and lower fees, with 35 percent of these shoppers preferring parcel lockers.

With parcel lockers, customers receive a notification via email or SMS message with a one-time PIN code or QR code to retrieve their order. The returns process is just as easy, Casey says, adding that customers simply drop off their returns at a parcel locker station by using the retailer’s return label.

“All they need do is scan the label and then place the parcel into the locker that opens,” he explains. “The best part is that the convenient delivery service can be placed inside or outside the store. In fact, placing parcel lockers inside or adjacent to a brick-and-mortar store can increase in-store foot traffic.

“This is a win-win for retailers and for customers who enjoy the additional in-store shopping experience after picking up their order, as well as the convenience and cheaper delivery option of parcel lockers,” Casey adds. “According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, during the 2015 holiday season, 32 percent of shoppers purchased an item online and then picked it up at a brick-and-mortar store.

Of those that used the buy online, pick up in-store program, 69 percent purchased additional items while picking up in-store and 36 percent made another purchase in an adjacent store, Casey notes. “The numbers speak for themselves, but ProShip’s Packcity Intelligent Parcel Lockers can also offer reporting and metrics capabilities to prove it,” Casey says. “Although parcel lockers can offer retailers numerous benefits, many executives want to see the numbers.”

Packcity Parcel Lockers offer reports and metrics on a number of key performance indicators including occupancy, turnover, pickup times, parcel size and more, according to Casey. “Using these reports, retailers can determine the parcel locker station’s return on investment as well as the need for additional parcel lockers on site,” he explains.

Reducing Costs

According to Casey, many major retailers offer free final-mile delivery services that can be expensive to compete with, especially for small to mid-sized retailers. That is why retailers should consider adding parcel lockers to their list of delivery options.

“Not only does this solution provide a competitive advantage, but also parcel lockers save retailers money by significantly decreasing freight costs,” Casey says. “Retailers can ship bulk orders to parcel lockers instead of shipping hundreds or thousands of small orders to each residence.

“In fact, retailers can use their own transportation and combine online orders with other deliveries that were already on schedule to be shipped to the store, saving even more on shipping costs,” he adds.

Ultimately, parcel lockers give e-retailers a competitive advantage by providing a function similar to a service desk in a brick-and-mortar store, with the exception of having to hire employees and excluding lengthy lines. “Not only are parcel lockers another delivery option for customers’ online orders, but they also allow customers to return their order in three simple steps,” Casey concludes. “Customers love the added benefit of visiting their favorite e-retailer’s parcel locker station just down the road from where they live.”

Tim Casey is vice president of Product at ProShip Inc., a Neopost company, and a global provider of logistics software and product solutions including enterprise-wide, multi-carrier shipping and manifesting software, automated packing solutions and intelligent parcel lockers. 

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