These locker systems came about as the trend of purchasing goods online began to grow, and many of the national package delivery companies found that the last mile of the delivery chain, from when the package is in the town of destination to when it reaches the door, was often the most expensive part of the route.
The Problem with Package Delivery
Once the order was processed and the package had been shipped to the designated city, the package would be put on a delivery truck and driven out to the customer’s home. But if the customer happened to not be present, it would be considered unsafe to leave the package outside the door, and the driver would have to leave with the package to try again another day. This complication of the process quickly racked up additional costs, as drivers in rural areas spent more time and fuel on returning multiple times to reattempt delivery, while urban drivers fought traffic and searched for parking in additional delivery attempts.
These frequent trips eventually cost the company more money than they are worth. Customers become frustrated, too, when they aren’t able to receive their package as expected, and often aren’t able to be at home during delivery hours at all due to work or other daily commitments.
Ideas began to emerge for a different solution, something that would merge the convenience of online shopping with the reality of day-to-day usability. Retailers gravitated towards the concept of locker systems set up at convenient locations, where the customers could retrieve their packages whenever they wanted.
The driver would go to this nearby location and open the locker with a code, leaving the package behind. The customer would then receive a text or an email notification telling them that their package was waiting for them at the requested location, along with a code to access the locker. Ideally, the locker would be installed at a convenience store, 24/7 pharmacy, or some other nearby business with flexible hours and easy access. Customers would use the corresponding code to access the locker when they were ready, stopping after work or on their way to run errands.
Several companies began to experiment with this business opportunity, most noticeably Amazon, which developed its own line of package delivery lockers. Soon other companies began to try to solve this problem on a national scale, becoming competitors to other package/parcel delivery companies in the quest for an efficient package delivery locker solution.
These locker systems aren’t just a pick-up site for buyers. People can also ship packages from these same locations, which makes it convenient for the sender and recipient, taking out the inconvenience of waiting in line at the post or shipping office, and making it cheaper for the driver/pickup company.
Purchasing any grouping of locker units is cheaper than buying or paying rent for an office space. Package delivery lockers can extend the reach of many brick and mortar shops or facilitate the growth of independent sellers who aren’t yet ready to open up a full storefront. Makers can exchange goods with customers, exchanging products through the system by using a credit card transaction account and sending the access code once payment is confirmed.
Some examples of key businesses that could leverage these types of systems are:
- Retailers - After-hours lockers are a convenient way to generate sales even while the store is closed, particularly for sellers that operate during normal business hours and potentially miss out on customers who work 9 to 5. Using the smart locker design, a customer who cannot come in when the store is open can call in an order. The store owner will then place the item purchased into the secure locker to be picked up whenever the customer can, using a code that the store sends straight to the buyer. It opens up new possibilities for both sides and is a straightforward way to boost business.
- Dry Cleaning and Laundry Service - Customers can drop off clothes at a package delivery locker, requesting specific services and making payment through a system that documents everything. The business would be notified that laundry has been left, and come to pick the items up, returning them when ready, and allowing customers to run errands while staying closer to their normal daily routes.
- Apartment Buildings and College Dorms - Residential buildings with multiple units see dozens of packages piling up in the mailroom, foyer, and in front of apartment doors every day. Utilizing a smart locker system reduces the need for extra staffing, increases security, and takes the responsibility of managing packages away from the building staff. Customers are able to access an individual locker at their home to retrieve packages without needing to wait there for it to arrive or constantly check-in with the front staff.
For college campuses, it could even be feasible to place lockers strategically around campus where students could pick up packages throughout the day, which would also reduce foot traffic in the foyer of the dorms.
This type of asymmetric system allows sellers and buyers to work at different times while still fulfilling orders as needed. Every transaction is documented through the system to ensure consistency, and confirm follow through details.
The DeBourgh Difference
DeBourgh has been working to produce and design a quality locker system that connects consumers to easy retrieval systems for the ultimate convenience in online shopping and package delivery. For this project we have partnered with technology companies who have discovered new ways to integrate our lockers in the cloud, experimenting with electronic locks, screens, and other innovative ways to make our system as efficient as possible. Three different customers have already begun to use our pilot product, and we are constantly looking for ways to perfect this system to meet even more specifications.
Our smart lockers are completely customizable to individual customer needs, coming in different sizes and shapes, and ranging from simple, inexpensive solutions all the way to complex systems with full cloud integration. A high-quality locker company with experience in meeting individual requirements and the ability to connect with the highest caliber of technology is the best solution for these smart locker opportunities, able to leverage both essential aspects of security and smart technology.
DeBourgh has unique capabilities when it comes to smart locker systems. As the noted experts in high-quality metal lockers, we have been working hard to create improved solutions, utilizing our expertise in metal lockers to create solutions that would work for package delivery lockers. We have partnered up with technology companies several times to discover ways to integrate our lockers into the cloud, experimenting with electronic locks, screens, and other ways to make this system work efficiently.
In the future, as internet sales increase even more, brick and mortar stores may move to having items delivered to a central store locker system, stocked with the specific package that you requested. It is a system that is quickly becoming the best way to gain possession of any item that you bought online.
Amazon isn’t the only company to see the opportunity of package delivery lockers, but we see the trend pointing to a huge increase in these systems, allowing buyers and sellers to trade goods in the most convenient ways possible. Companies all over the country are beginning to consider some of the ways that they can use package delivery lockers to further their businesses and become even more attuned players in the market.
How will your company maximize the potential of these package delivery lockers to improve the way you do business?