At this point, every brick-and-mortar business and online brand has seen its share of uncertainties. The pandemic taught us to expect the unexpected.
For retail brands, no matter what their model, the global lockdown swept forward an even deeper lesson with its economic mayhem – switch to contactless operations with bolstered logistics while keeping customer experience at the pedestal.
One would be inclined to think that the solution to this problem might be digital. However, it lies in the very infrastructure of logistics, woven tightly into retail operations across the globe.
In a nutshell, the ideal solution for such contactless, ‘pandemic-proof’ operations would be a hardware system running over highly robust cloud software.
Yes! We are talking about the proven state-of-art Digital Parcel Locker systems – self-serviced, secure, accessible, and scalable.
Wait, But Why Digital Parcel Lockers in the First Place?
Digital Parcel Lockers or simply Smart Lockers are a recent phenomenon in many walks of life – and most of their applications have to do with package delivery, storage, and retrieval.
In an increasingly digital world, analog solutions are becoming obsolete faster than the new compensating technology can replace them. For instance, e-commerce has made it possible to place an order in just a few clicks, and get the order delivered fast to your place. Yet, at the end point where the last-mile package reaches its recipient, things are mundane and left to chance without any technological backing.
“Digital parcel lockers like Smartbox are built from the ground up to fill this specific gap”
The parable of last-mile delivery challenges is as old as the concept of supply-chain itself. Now, smart lockers are changing this and bringing about a wave of positive transformation – both for retailers as well as customers.
Transforming Retail with Click-to-Collect Lockers
Retail is a cut-throat game and brands often find themselves competing in an ever-evolving game of customer preferences. If we ask the right question – what makes a retail brand truly win over its target audience?
The answer to this is Customer Experience. Period.
Customer Experience is an umbrella term in the contemporary context. However, we are specifically interested in ‘Last Mile Customer Experience’ for retailers.
Did you know that a single late delivery will turn off 15% of your customers, and 2-3 late deliveries take this disappointment as high as 55%! It would make sense for retailers to focus on retaining their customers via a delightful last-mile experience – given that they would have to spend 25x more to acquire and retain a new customer.
As per a survey by PWC, 1/3rd of the customers switch to a different retail brand after a single poor last-mile delivery experience. For South American regions, for instance, this number is as high as 50%.
If you have absorbed these insights well, now is the time to fill the gaps and put your retail growth into overdrive with Click-to-Collect lockers.
Last-Mile Challenges in Retail
It is a well-known fact that the last mile is the most complex and expensive part of the entire supply chain. To name a few challenges that retailers face and compromise the customer experience –
- Delivery Reattempts – In case the recipient is not available to receive the package, multiple delivery re-attempts add to exponential transport costs.
- Lost/Misplaced Package – Usually seen in multifamily settings whereby a common mailroom is cluttered with packages, and they get misplaced or lost.
- Porch Thefts – Retailers and customers face a cumulative loss of $6 billion on average in the USA alone owing to porch piracy.
- Time-coordination – Package recipients often must coordinate with the delivery agents for availability and time scheduling. Besides, there is no 24×7 availability of the agents and the recipients for parcel transactions.
- Limited Local Delivery Bandwidth – Delivery agents spend more time per package delivery if they are all within the localized region.
- Higher Cost @Lower Reliability – Door-to-door package delivery is a high-cost operation and yields lower reliability for retailers vis-a-vis customer experience and ROI.
If not timely addressed, the above challenges can make any retail business go belly up.
This calls for a pressing need to bolster the last-mile infrastructure for deliveries (and reverse logistics too!) in favor of cost-efficiency, customer experience, and scalability.
How Digital Parcel Lockers Solve Retail Supply-Chain Challenges?
The success of smart lockers for retail operations can be attributed to the level of automation they bring in, and the ease of use.
Take Smartbox click-to-collect lockers for example. These are indoor/outdoor weather-proof units that come with a main terminal with a touchscreen and add-on locker units as per the requirements.
“Smartbox runs over proprietary encrypted cloud software that guarantees 99.99% uptime and end-to-end data security. In addition to this, it allows all locker units to be monitored, controlled, and tracked remotely via an intuitive dashboard at all times.”
SMARTBOX can be installed at any convenient location. It is a white-labeled solution built to automate package management without any staff addition.
Moreover, using Smartbox involves just 3 effortless steps;
- Delivery agent scans the package at Smartbox terminal
- An empty available locker unit opens automatically, and the package is placed
- Recipient is notified and can retrieve the package anytime by entering a One-Time Password at the terminal
Given the ease of use, scalability, and high-level automation, Smartbox helps retail brands in two major ways –
#1. Setup Click-to-Collect Locker Network
Retail brands have the option to setup a network of Smartbox Click-to-Collect lockers in the areas of high interest and offer 24×7 package delivery/returns to the local customers. A C2C locker network offers the following advantages to retail brands;
- Contactless and automated package delivery and returns
- Provide 24×7 package access to customers
- Enhance shipping efficiency
- Boost customer experience
- No package thefts, losses, and misplacements
- Increase your delivery throughput and sales with a dedicated C2C locker network
- Crack goal of 100% first-time package reception
- Greatly reduce last-mile logistical costs
#2. Enable Buy-Online-Pickup-In-Store
BOPIS or Buy-Online-Pickup-In-Store is a growing trend seen in big box stores and large retail chains.
Customers prefer flexibility when it comes to purchasing the products they need. And they do not like to take a chance if the product runs out of stock, or they might forget to buy it, or may have to travel. BOPIS or BOPIL (Buy Online Pickup in Locker) model of retail comes in to save the day.
For instance, you spotted a great sale on kitchenware and groceries at Target. You simply add all the products into the cart, place, and order for BOPIL, and leave for your office party. All your products will be safely placed in the locker, and you can collect them at any time of your convenience.
BOPIL model of retail offers several advantages to brands and customers like;
- 24×7 Package pickups and returns
- No long queues at billing counters
- No additional staff requirement
- Full package and goods security
- Fully contactless package transactions
With BOPIL, retail brands can easily ramp up their sales and optimize in-store staff availability for better CX and growth.
Which Smartbox Locker Flavor Would You Choose?
Multiple compartment configurations, security systems, branding, and accessories – Smartbox click-to-collect lockers can be tailored to your retail requirements, no matter what the demand or challenges are.
Our lockers are already transforming the global retail benchmark for last-mile deliveries, turning in thousands of delighted customers.
Make way for exponential retail growth, superior CX and cost-savings with bolstered supply-chain today.
Choose Smartbox. Book a demo now!