Online shopping is easy, when done right; in bed or at the office, purchasing something from your favorite online vendor is as simple as point, click and wait. But the waiting, of course, can be the hardest part.
The Internet has made the online shopping experience easy and enjoyable as brands accept the challenge of getting online orders to you as quickly as possible. But the package delivery experience continues to lag far behind the ease of use generally found when shopping online—leaving many shoppers discouraged and seeking safer, more flexible alternatives.
Who hasn’t experienced anxiety caused by lost or stolen packages, or returned home to a missed delivery door tag necessitating a trek far away to collect an order? Customers continue to find the “last mile” of the online purchasing process fraught with difficulties.
Self-service lockers have surfaced as an increasingly versatile option for eliminating many of these last-mile delivery issues. Some self-service lockers, such as those provided by Amazon and Home Depot, cater exclusively to shoppers placing orders on their sites.
A small number of locker providers, such as NYC’s GoLocker, present an agnostic solution for all types of purchases and deliveries. All provide customers a shipping option that offers flexibility around when they can collect their packages, eliminates missed deliveries, and significantly increases the chances of safely retrieving packages without error. Self-service lockers can also provide customers a convenient and secure way to return packages.
In some areas of the country, self-service lockers are conveniently located throughout neighborhoods, in convenience stores or other retail locations that have extended operating hours, such as fitness clubs. City dwellers, especially those who don’t have the luxury of a doorman or concierge, benefit from the security and ease of local lockers.
Here are ten facts about self-service lockers, and a few more reasons why you should consider using one for your next package delivery. They’ve been doing this in European cities for years...it’s about time we American urbanites joined the party.
1. Self-service lockers are really smart.
Today’s self-service lockers are worlds away from the locker you may have used at a train station or in high school. These lockers are driven by leading-edge technology, have scanners that can quickly read barcodes, and are built for rapid collection. They are customer-friendly and enable a streamlined parcel retrieval and return process.
2. They are clean, safe and secure.
Have you seen a bank of self-service lockers recently? They are sleek, pristine, and about as secure as Fort Knox. Here are a few photos of some hard-working models in NYC.
3. They’re ready when you are.
The beautiful thing about self-service lockers is that most are in locations that offer 24-hour access, so you can use them whenever it’s convenient for you. Pick up or send on your schedule: No more missed deliveries, or waiting in line at the post office to retrieve a redirected parcel or to make a return.
4. Self-service lockers are easy to use and accessible to all.
Most lockers are accessed via a user-friendly app, and packaged retrieval is processed through a responsive touchscreen. The screens and lockers are ADA compliant, so no one is excluded.
5. They are great communicators.
These smart lockers are programmed to send an email or SMS to alert you at various stages of the parcel delivery process. You will be kept up to date without having to do your own delivery tracking.
6. They cut you some slack when it comes to package retrieval.
Most self-service lockers offer a 24 to 48-hour window for picking up a package (some offer subscription plans that allow their “VIP” members a luxurious 72 hours). And once you’ve been notified that your package is in the locker, it’s there. No more rushing home to meet a delivery “window,” only to be disappointed.
7. They are versatile.
Not only can you order online and pick up at a locker, you can also use self-service lockers to receive packages from family and friends, or use them for business purposes. You can also handle all of your returns and outgoing shipments through a self-service locker kiosk.
8. Self-service lockers can accommodate packages of many sizes.
Most self-service locker banks offer lockers of various dimensions, and some even offer refrigerated lockers for perishable items.
There are some obvious restrictions to what can be delivered via locker—maybe arrange a different option for that kayak or futon—but your average, everyday purchase will fit nicely in a standard locker.
9. They can accommodate multiple packages from different sources.
If you are receiving multiple packages at once from different carriers or retailers, they can be consolidated into a locker that accommodates all of your packages—this facilitates a quick and easy retrieval process. Even if your packages are delivered to different lockers, because of size, the smart locker system will associate all your pickup codes by your user code to streamline the process.
10. Use of self-service lockers can have spillover economic and ecological effects.
Self-service locker locations serve as consolidated access points for carriers, eliminating the waste associated with multiple deliveries (and re-deliveries) to private residences. Everyone benefits from the parcel carrier's lower operating costs, in a trickle-down sort of way. Consolidated delivery options also offer us all the chance to help reduce our carbon footprints, and do our part to be a little greener.