It is a fact that a majority of consumers still prefer their parcels to have delivered to their home or office address. However, the alternate delivery options are fast catching up considering the loopholes in the traditional delivery methods, be it in Europe, North America and Asia.
Home delivery, particularly cash-on-delivery (COD) is still most popular in India, especially in smaller towns and outskirts regions. In the metropolises, parcel lockers have emerged as a unique option for both consumers and online retailers.
The reasons behind the increasing popularity of parcels lockers are understandable. From consumers’ and online retailers’ perspectives, the reasons are below:
1. Reluctant to wait endlessly for package delivery.
2. Don’t want to deal with the hassles of coordinating with courier personnel by adjusting their schedule.
3. Don’t prefer cash-on-delivery (COD). Even in the case of advance payment via NEFT or debit/credit card, the first two drawbacks still exist.
Online Retailers & Logistics Companies
1. Don’t want to spend so much on logistics, especially “last mile” delivery as it brings down profitability substantially.
2. Seek to save money caused by delivery re-attempts.
3. Need an option to delivery in bulk instead of individual delivery to save time and logistics cost.
These reasons are strong enough for consumers and online retailers to look for more efficient, convenient and cost-effective options, and parcel lockers have come up with that solution. In this post, we would discuss various types of parcel lockers, their business usability, and how they are influencing the CEP landscapes.
Types of Parcel Lockers
1. Modular Parcel Locker
These parcel lockers have modular design where the locker modules contain one hanger rod each, equally distributed shelf loads, and high-quality stainless steel door hinges. The modular design provides the advantages of easy installation, maintenance and flexible usage.
2. Cooling Lockers for Fresh Food
Cooling lockers or refrigerator lockers are used to keep foods fresh by keeping the temperature inside the lockers between 2 º to 7 º C. Usually, these lockers have polyurethane foam insulation, fan cooling, and refrigerant gas. The cabinets and doors are made of stainless steel. Other key features are surveillance camera, intelligent sensing, digital energy meter, leakage protection, and temperature detection/control.
3. Postal Lockers
Postal lockers manage various postal deliveries such as ordinary mail, registered mail, marketing/advertising packages, local parcels, and international ordinary parcels. Recipients can choose their nearest delivery point, which may be close to their home, office or a post office. The delivery is available for collection for three to four days. If not collected during this time period, the package will be returned to the nearby post office for counter collection.
4. Self-service Parcel Lockers
Self-service package lockers have been designed to simplify the last mile delivery by online retailers. These robust lockers are installed in various locations such as bust stops, metro stations, shopping malls, offices, and community centres from where customers can collect their parcels at their convenient time. Each of these locker terminals contains small, medium and large lockers for various parcel size. Once customers receive a one-time password (OTP), they visit the terminal, swipe their debit/credit card to make instant payment, and collect their package. The lockers also have advance real-time tracking and reporting feature. A parcel terminal can manage approximately 50-100 parcels per day.
5. Laundry Lockers
Once registered with a laundry service provider, customers can deposit their clothes at the lockers. When the clothes are cleaned, they receive a SMS message on their mobile phone. Subsequently, customers can visit the lockers any time to collect the clothes. Some service providers even offer customers the facility to check their cleaning order status online. Laundry lockers have clean dress storage with locking feature, doors with ventilation slots, large corner gussets both on the front and bottom for extra rigidity.
How Parcel Lockers are Changing the Courier-Express-Parcel (CEP) Market
The courier, express and parcel or CEP market is changing, and for better. Over the past few years, amid the cacophony of “one day,” “same day,” or “next day” delivery, parcel lockers have proved to be a saving grace.
The clamours or shoutouts-from-the-rooftops by the online retailers to attract customers often seem too intense, particularly during the festive seasons like Diwali or Christmas. Desperation to grab a major pie of the market share force eTailers to make such aggressive hard selling strategies. It can be confusing for customers as they simply don’t know who they should rely on. Well, now they can sit back and relax, especially those who think home delivery is a little stressful for them.
A market research carried out by Accenture in 2015 revealed the following insights into parcel delivery:
• The power is shifting to consumers
• Demand is growing, and so does the market volatility
• The Internet is the driving force for growth, and it is transforming the supply chain
• Increasing investments to have higher capacity, though the ROIC is declining
• Last mile is the centre of all the retail battles
• Sharing economy is likely to disrupt the last mile further
• The B2C segment is outgrowing B2B
• New and better technology will change the equation
• Home delivery is considered the new premium
These research findings point out to some focus areas and specific shift in the patterns – spiking costs, lower ROI, significance of efficient last mile delivery, and advanced technology. The survey also showed that home delivery is still considered “premium” and the deal breaker. However, time is changing for sure.
An increasing numbers of online retailers and logistics companies are realizing that they need to weed out the weak links of the traditional supply chain to sustain in the competitive market. The existing last mile delivery models including postal mail-run, courier, and crowd shipment to homes are complex, time-consuming, and expensive. On the other hand, the emerging delivery methods like courier delivery or crowd shipment to parcel lockers are simpler, faster, economical, and more convenient. The parcel delivery value chain has evolved as a more transparent and effective element, capable of meeting customers’ and retailers’ expectations in the long run.
Ready to Tread a New Path?
Are you curious, and wondering how parcel lockers can be a game changer for your business? That’s a good sign. If you are into the retail business, you know well how supply chain efficiency, time-sensitivity, and cost-effectiveness can work as the three strong pillars to help you stand your ground.
Get more clarity about parcel lockers by asking our experts as many questions as possible. Just give us a call at +91-8882-760-760 for a no-obligation consultation, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be glad to assist you.