Ecommerce changed the way consumers shop forever. Now logistics and supply chains are playing catch-up as retailers and shipping services retool their delivery services to meet current and future demands.
Will these future delivery methods include drones, robots and autonomous ground vehicles (AGVs)? Eventually. But one future-forward alternative to traditional package delivery is already here, and it looks familiar: the modern smart locker.
Smart lockers transform parcel & asset management
Bring on the drones!
Not so fast. Yes, the drones, robots and AGVs are coming. But we’re looking at a decade or more before these future delivery methods are market-ready. The technology is there but the infrastructure to support it isn’t.
Drones have weight limits, require landing sites and must currently defer to airspace regulations (and regulators). Plus, they’ll require specialized supervision—which means more training and personnel involved. This delivery method will be especially welcomed by rural consumers, but we’re not quite there yet.
AGVs will need an infrastructure in place that allows fleets of them to share the road with daily traffic. Robots will need to play nice with pedestrians as they roll their little storage-locker bodies down city sidewalks. Like drones, these future delivery methods will require some type of central supervision by trained specialists. Unlike drones, these methods might not be suited for rural delivery.
Another factor that needs to be ironed out is receipt of delivery. Will they require that the recipient be at home to sign for—or rather scan for—the delivery? If so, other more flexible methods of delivery will need to be available, too.
But why wait for the future of package delivery when a fantastic alternative exists now?
Enter the modern smart locker
The only infrastructure required for the modern smart locker is an accommodating footprint. If you have the space and the commitment to customer service, you have everything you need to implement this future-forward delivery method. Consumers are certainly primed for it.
Buy Online, Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) surged in popularity in 2020. Proving it pays to be prepared, ecommerce retailers in the US who offered BOPIS at checkout saw a 49% increase1 in online sales. The next logical step in curbside and in-store pickup is Buy Online, Pick Up in Locker (BOPIL).
You’ll find them today across college campuses, apartment complexes and busy offices. Maybe you’ve used one yourself. A modern smart locker makes it possible for a delivery person to deposit a package in a designated locker, secure it and walk away. The recipient receives an automated alert and, at their leisure, uses the code to retrieve their package. It’s safe, secure and convenient for all involved. And it provides the autonomous, contactless experience that many consumers now desire.
Just like you remember, only better
Other than the cold hard steel and securable doors, these aren’t your gym teacher’s lockers. The modern smart locker is sleek, modular, branded and scalable. And the combination locks have been replaced with digital security features and a touchscreen.
The best of the modern smart lockers have a lot going on behind the scenes as well. Tracking and analytics govern packages across the chain of custody, monitoring fluctuating volumes, changing needs and irregular package movements. Some even support the most common workflows with seamless software integration.
The future of package delivery was here all along
They prospered from necessity, but the modern smart locker is here to stay. We predict they’ll be around to see the first drones deliver packages and droids dodge obstacles on the street.
Why? Consumers want options, and the ability to order online and pick up a package safely, securely and autonomously is a winning one.