Strengthening green credentials with parcel lockers

Online shopping has been on the rise for many years and the events of 2020 only escalated this growing trend. With shutters down on non-essential shops and people spending most of their time at home, deliveries of ordered goods went up. However, even as physical stores begin their recovery, it’s unlikely online sales will return to their pre-Covid19 levels as new habits formed are likely to stick for many consumers who can’t resist the convenience of online shopping.

In early 2020, a World Economic Forum (WEF) report estimated that the demand for last mile delivery in urban areas will increase by 78 per cent by 2030. That creates a challenge across the entire delivery chain – from the retailer to couriers and on to households and businesses taking delivery of goods: how to streamline last mile delivery so that it is efficient, cost-effective and convenient?

Counting the cost of redeliveries

The ‘last mile’ is the stage of delivery that brings parcels to consumers’ doors, or close to. It can be fraught with difficulties because customers are often unavailable when orders arrive, meaning the courier will have to attempt delivery multiple times or leave the parcel on a doorstep and risk it being lost or stolen. Both options are less than ideal, since processing and redelivering parcels comes at a monetary and environmental burden.

For retailers, deliveries to individual households are costly, yet online shoppers are increasingly unwilling to pay for this – according to GlobalData research, 42 per cent of UK online clothing and footwear customers say they aren’t prepared to pay for delivery. Redeliveries add costs for retailers and inconvenience for customers, while at the same time increasing traffic on the roads. So acute is the potential environmental issue, that the same WEF report indicates urban last mile delivery emissions are on track to increase by over 30 per cent by 2030 in the world’s top 100 cities.

Ideally, parcel deliveries succeed on the first attempt. This best meets the needs and expectations of shoppers, retailers and the environment.

Intelligent parcel lockers for convenient parcel pick-up

For retailers, intelligent parcel lockers can be situated on-site, in an accessible location inside or outside the store, for customers to self-serve when picking up Click-and-Collect deliveries or dropping off returns. In this way, staff needn’t  spend valuable time on tasks such as retrieving parcels and processing refunds. This in turn helps to minimise the queues instore, which reduces the chance of potentially revenue-generating customers abandoning the queue.

Businesses, apartment blocks and other multi-tenant sites can also improve parcel management through lockers that enable parcel recipients to self-serve. Intelligent parcel lockers act as a secure delivery location for your parcels  - an alternative to couriers visiting individual addresses to make deliveries and a way of reducing redelivery attempts when recipients aren’t home.

How does a parcel locker work?

Intelligent parcel lockers provide a simple way of getting parcels into the right hands while addressing some of the issues of last mile delivery. The parcel addressee receives an electronic notification when their item is placed into a locker and with it, a PIN/barcode that they use to open the locker and retrieve their goods. It’s secure, convenient, reduces parcel management pressure at staffed locations and helps businesses manage delivery costs.

Once notified, recipients can collect their parcels from the lockers at their own convenience. Until the items are collected, they are kept secure.

As more purchases migrate online, the pressure is on to resolve the difficulties and environmental impact of last mile delivery. Intelligent parcel lockers provide the means for shoppers to take delivery of items and help retailers and delivery services reduce the number of single address delivery journeys and redeliveries when first attempts fail.  

To find out more about 24/7, self-service parcel pick-up solutions, take a look at secure parcel lockers from Quadient.

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