Smart parcel lockers provide contactless delivery solutions for businesses and schools.
Social distancing guidelines have forced many businesses to rethink how they get deliveries and essential supplies into the hands of their customers and employees – without ever actually touching hands or getting too close to another person. At the same time, other organizations that are closed, like college and university campuses, are strategizing on how to reopen in a socially distancing-conscious way. Campus mail centers, for example, field hundreds to thousands of mail pieces on any given day, and their employees interact with countless students or staffers to deliver that mail. All of that would be a no-go in a social distancing world.
So how can campuses and businesses carry on essential mailing and shipping to customers, students, teachers and others while minimizing health risks? The solution lies in contactless delivery and pickup via smart parcel lockers.
Smart parcel lockers for schools, corporate campuses and single-site businesses.
While campuses for schools and single-site businesses may be closed, the mail being sent to these campuses hasn’t stopped. Nor do closures mean mail center workers still aren’t on the job. But what’s the process for handling packages and mail for students and staff while they’re away? While one option would be to dig up the recipient’s home address and send their mail to them, it is not cost-efficient (as it means either the sender or recipient is now incurring new shipping costs).
Another option would be to simply call or email the recipient to notify them that their package has arrived and will be held until later. But that doesn’t work if the package contains something time-sensitive and important – like a student’s medication, passport or other critical documents. It also means the mailroom will be stockpiling packages that take up space for months. Curbside delivery or pickup is safer than both of these alternatives, but would still involve some level of person-to-person interaction.
Campuses need to address shipping and mailing via a hybrid approach. For instance, outbound shipping mail for students and staff who live hours away from campus. But for those who are in closer proximity to the school or business, contactless delivery and pickup with smart parcel lockers provides a safe alternative that overcomes the challenges listed above.
Here’s how it works: Put the package in the locker. The recipient receives a notification that they can pick it up at their discretion. Then they do. And that’s all. The lockers can be placed outside so the recipient doesn’t have to go inside the building. There’s no reason for either the person dropping off the package or the one picking it up to be there at the same time; the locker itself is the only go-between needed.
This has major health and safety benefits for recipients, who can now get their mail at their own leisure, while making conditions safer for mail center employees, too. Smart parcel lockers enable workers to deliver packages and mail faster than they otherwise could, which also frees up space in what are already cramped quarters. More space means fewer risks of employee trips and falls. It also means package volumes decrease significantly, so that finding mail pieces is quicker and easier; no need to rummage through piles of backlogged parcels.
Smart parcel lockers provide additional conveniences for office workers. For one, if office workers aren’t comfortable sharing their home address with vendors, they can have them continue mailing and shipping to their office address, using the locker as a safe go-between for receiving their mail. These lockers can also be used for workplace assets, like a work laptop that an employee may need to pick up from the office. In these scenarios, the laptop or other asset can be placed inside the smart parcel lockers for safe, contactless pickup.
Smart parcel lockers for retailers
Arguably the more pressing need for contactless delivery right now falls on essential businesses like pharmacies, convenience stores and certain retailers. These stores are having a difficult time balancing the needs of their customers with social distancing guidelines. Measures like limiting in-store capacities, staggered entries and marking six-feet-apart distances all help, but don’t completely eliminate health risks or put anxious customers at ease.
Smart parcel lockers provide the contactless delivery alternative that ensures customers get the non-perishable supplies they need without ever having to interact with another person. Make the order online; the order is placed inside the locker; the store notifies the customer it’s ready for pickup; the customer picks it up. No lines, no going inside the store, no fretting about keeping six feet away from crowds.
Businesses, colleges and universities can leverage smart parcel lockers to address health and safety concerns for their customers, students and employees, without compromising on product delivery or efficient mailing and shipping at the same time. Smart parcel lockers are designed for both indoor and outdoor use, the latter made possible thanks to a weather-resilient design that ensures mail recipients don’t need to enter a building to pick up their parcel – the decision to install indoors or outdoors is entirely up to the organization’s preference.
Additionally, between 24/7 camera monitoring and barcode scan or keypad entry that requires user-specific codes to open, smart parcel lockers guarantee security and privacy for customer orders and mail. Built-in tracking and reporting functions provide an extra layer of accountability, so that users can determine if and when an order has been picked up by its recipient.
Pitney Bowes ParcelPoint™ Smart Lockers are designed to help organizations streamline processes and implement contactless pickup points.