Reducing contact in retail with parcel pickup
Online retail, already on the up, experienced an upsurge this year with shoppers reducing social contact and minimising shop visits. For retailers, parcel pickup options provide ways to conveniently fulfil orders and help customers reduce contact when they shop with them online.
In the UK, August online sales were up over 46 per cent compared to February. As demand grew, supermarkets increased capacity to accommodate a larger number of delivery slots and invested in click & collect services. In two examples, Aldi began rolling out click & collect at some of its stores, while Marks and Spencer announced trials of store pick-up and drive-up collections.
Technology enables innovation in retail for order collections with reduced contact when customers shop online. In the US, home improvement retailer Lowe’s announced plans to install self-service lockers from Quadient in its 1,700 stores, with rollout throughout the winter to March next year.
The lockers will provide a convenient way for customers to collect same-day online orders at times that suit them, without the need for face-to-face service.
The secure, entirely digital experience the lockers provide relies on electronic technology that generates a scannable barcode when an order is ready for pickup. The customer receives an automated email notification, with the one-time user barcode, which they scan at the in-store lockers to open the relevant locker that contains their order.
Joe McFarland, Lowe’s executive vice president of stores, said: “Our No. 1 priority is making sure we are keeping things safe for our associates and customers while continuing to provide additional options to make it even easier to shop with us".
“With more than 60 per cent of online orders picked up in our stores, this gives our customers one more option and the added convenience and flexibility to control how and when they get that order. This is a significant step in our relentless efforts to create a fast and frictionless shopping experience for today’s time-pressed customers.”
As well as reducing contact, this method of order collection saves customers time as they don’t have to wait in line to be served. For shoppers and retailers, in-store lockers for parcel pickup provide a range of benefits:
- Convenience: customers can collect at times that suit them and avoid the risk of being out when a home delivery is attempted
- Customers kept informed: clear notifications and instructions inform customers on the pickup status of their order so it’s clear where their items are
- Delivery reductions: delivery mileage is reduced when parcels are picked up in store rather than delivered to individual shopper addresses
- Promotional opportunities: customers going to store get to see the latest offers and brand promotions.
For Lowe’s, now is the ideal time to provide secure, direct access for customers to pick up orders quickly and conveniently as stores and shoppers prepare for the busy holiday season.
For further information, find out more about parcel locker solutions.