Parcel Lockers – The Smart Solution To Take On Holiday Season Retail Rush

Parcel Lockers - The Smart Solution To Take On Holiday Season Retail Rush

Shopping frenzy during festive and holiday seasons reaches an unprecedented level every year! Phrases such as “Great Indian Festival,” “Unbox Diwali,” or “Big Billion Days” were resonating everywhere during the pre-Diwali season this year occupying nearly every inch of newspaper space, prime slots in television, and even radio. Online retail portals in India leave nothing to chance when it comes to grabbing attention of both existing and potential customers by offering deep discounts. Also, compared to the previous years, this time around online retailers seemed more prepared in terms of package delivery. Still there are several grey areas that need a long-term solution.

Every year online retail giants go full throttle to grab a major market pie during peak seasons stockpiling their inventory with a variety of products and generating revenues through aggressive marketing. The surge in the sales volume touches incredible figures during those periods, and eTailers deal with millions of orders. Here comes the question, do these retailers have the required supply chain efficiency and logistical capability to manage such massive volumes consistently in the future ahead? Well, that remains to be seen. This volume spike creates immense pressure on logistics partners to deliver packages on time and keep customers happy.

To keep up with the seasonal surge in demand, some e-commerce companies have turned to robotics solutions for faster parcel sorting in the fulfilment centres to bring in more efficiency at a significantly lesser manpower cost. Sounds impressive, but what about the delivery efficiency, especially the “Last Mile”? By using conventional delivery methods, courier persons still have to slog out to find out each address, many of them can be at remote locations. A lot of time is likely to get wasted in the logistical hassles including failed delivery attempts or even delayed deliveries. There has to be a futuristic and permanent solution.

The Logistics Masterstroke: How they did it Elsewhere

A few years back, in 2012, Australia Post decided to invest more than $2 billion to digitize its existing operations. This significant amount of investment was for expanding the reach of its parcel locker systems to 80 percent of the Australian population, and also developing a digital mail service. This key strategic decision was taken to curb the instances of failed delivery. This government-owned corporation realized that they will not be able to sustain the huge demand of parcel service requirements without incorporating a robust delivery system.

Now, let’s shift our focus to northern Europe, to be precise, Finland where the newly revamped national postal service “Posti” has been able to improve their operational efficiency. The company reveals that it has been possible due to its vast network of 460 automated parcel lockers. In 2014, more than 50 percent of deliveries went through these parcel lockers, and particularly, this delivery method proves to be useful during the Christmas season rush.

Well, we have a similar example in India as well, but it hardly made headlines. During the 2015 pre-Diwali season, private courier company Blue Dart installed parcel delivery lockers to manage the delivery of high volumes of parcels. However, it’s still unknown whether this initiative yielded any positive result.

It was just a beginning as far as India is concerned. Considering the poor logistical infrastructure and messed up last mile delivery, companies like Smartbox have come up with realistic solutions. The company has partnered with some of the leading e-commerce and omnichannel players to resolve their delivery issues, and improve operational efficiency. The results have so far been encouraging – spruced up supply chain, high on-time delivery success rate, and dipping logistical cost.

Automated parcel lockers, can bring in a huge relief for Indian retailers during the festive and holiday season rush. Despite hiring thousands of seasonal employees and providing round-the-clock service, retailers struggle to keep up with the high sales volume. Delivery men, on the other hand, feel stressed out delivering a huge number of parcels during the peak season. Parcel lockers can easily resolve this issue as courier persons can deliver packages in bulk at one go without having to look for individual recipient’s address.

The Retail Industry gets a Smart Solution – All season

Smart lockers, Click & Collect or Parcel lockers as they are interchangeably called, have already triggered a movement in the retail industry all over the world. Now, it’s India’s turn to embrace the technology to ensure higher business efficiency and better customer experience.

In the European nations and North America, an increasing number of multifamily housing apartments, shopping malls, and community centres are installing parcel lockers. A few years back, on average, apartments used to handle two or three packages a day, which has grown to about 100 per week. The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and Kingsley Associates 2014 Package Delivery Survey reveals this data. The number of packages can easily double during the seasonal sales rush. This is, however, still an amenity offered by the housing authority, and not a mandate.

The apartments are facing another issue, which is finding a balance between creating adequate space, and spending time and money to keep up with the growing demands for amenities by the occupants. This is where an automated parcel terminal can be an effective solution. It is also easier for a logistics company to get packages delivered to the designated parcel lockers rather than reaching out to individual customer, getting the consignment signed, and hand it over. An automated parcel locker is configured in such a way that it identifies an empty compartment, and randomly assigns the locker so that a customer can use a unique one-time password to collect the package.

Automated Parcel Locker – Is it the Future of Parcel Delivery?

Parcel lockers have the potential to be the next generation delivery process due to their advanced technology, automated and streamlined package storage system. They are in fact, an intuitive system that enables retailers to drop packages and shoppers to pick them up without any human intervention.

Just imagine, what will happen during the peak seasons if online retail portals, instead of taking up the monumental task of delivering to each address, deliver to parcel lockers? Such a move is likely to save a lot of human effort and will ensure a significant amount of reduction in logistics cost. The shipping companies will be assigned parcel terminals, all they need to do is scan the barcodes, and leave the parcels in secure lockers. Subsequently, an email or text notifies the shopper of delivery along with a pass code or OTP. All consumers have to do is to drop in at the designated terminal, enter the pass code, and collect the parcel. A smart and efficient process.

If your retail business faces the challenge of high volumes of delivery during the festive season, parcel lockers can help you keep things on track by streamlining the delivery by getting rid of all grey areas of logistics. To learn about smart lockers, you can navigate the home page of our website Smartbox is India’s first integrated network of automated parcel lockers, and is providing delivery solutions to reputable e-commerce and omnichannel companies. If you have further questions, reach out to us at 8882-760-760, and we would be delighted to assist you.


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