There are a variety of situations in which consumers need a product on demand. For example, the home DIY project requiring a specific type of tape. An injury requiring first aid before heading off to an emergency room. Or a phone charger breaks and must be replaced before leaving on an early morning flight. Often, these needs occur outside of store hours. Smart Lockers may present a solution if someone needs to purchase and pick up a product outside of store hours.
The Store Hour Problem
Everybody has the same 168 hours each week to accomplish their tasks and goals. However, the items we need are not available for all 168 hours. In most cases, retailers are open from 9:00 a.m. until 7 p.m., and they may have extended hours one day each week. This means that most stores are open for only around 70 hours in each 7-day period. Therefore, even in this best-case scenario, a store would be less than 45% of the time.
Most stores are closed at least 55% of all weekly hours
With the increased demand for on-demand products, some stores have begun shifting hours to better accommodate customers. For example, a few stores have begun to implement midday breaks to remain open longer before and after the standard workday. Others have increased weekend hours to allow for more schedule-friendly shopping. But while this may be a solution for some retailers, it may prove too costly for many.
Adding more hours to a store’s schedule can exponentially increase a retailer’s operating costs. Not only will utility payments like electricity increase, but hourly wages can compound costs even when staying open for a couple of additional hours each week. This, combined with an already-tight labor market and need for competitive pay, means most brick-and-mortar stores just can’t keep up with consumer demand.
Fast shipping times have aimed to alleviate the “Store Hour Problem”. But even that is an imperfect solution. For example, large online retailers like Amazon have introduced an “overnight” shipping option. If you place an order by a specific time in the evening, it will be at your doorstep by the time you wake up the following day. Unfortunately, while this quick-turn option is enticing for specific needs, it is often unreliable, too expensive, and – amazingly – not fast enough. Plus, for retailers already stretched thin by a tight labor market and slim margins, this is an impractical, if not unattainable, solution.
What is a Smart Locker?
Smart Lockers serve as a solution to both the “Store Hour Problem” and the high cost of shipping. The lockers are secure distribution systems that have computers integrated into their locking mechanisms. In short, they allow for automated package notification and delivery. Rather than having an item shipped directly to someone’s doorstep, a customer can navigate to the closest Smart Locker. Items can be preloaded into the Smart Locker or delivered via an efficient courier. The customer securely pays for and retrieves the product and goes on their way – all on their schedule. Smart Lockers are useful in various contexts, especially for retailers looking for fast distribution solutions.
The Smart Locker Solution
Smart Lockers offer an efficient, low-cost solution for stores struggling to address their customers’ shifting needs. Both brick-and-mortar and online stores can place Smart Lockers at accessible, well-lit locations with the added security of cameras. In addition, each locker can be located conveniently, like in a central parking lot or just outside the store itself. Retailers can place high-demand items inside the lockers, allowing customers to purchase and pick up on their schedules.
For stores without the e-Commerce savvy necessary to manage online ordering, they can offer customers the ability to call ahead, pay for items over the phone, and then retrieve their purchases outside of store hours.
Smart Lockers can be more than an extension of a store’s hours. Retailers can use them to bring products closer to customers, increase convenience, and boost marketing efforts. For example, placing a Smart Locker in a community center can promote their brand and allow the retailer to access customers where they are – not where the store is located.
To learn more about how your organization can maximize Smart Lockers to reduce cost, increase revenue, augment your brand, and delight your customers, contact the ParcelPort team online by visiting www.theParcelPort.com, email at sales@theParcelPort.com or calling 1-800-818-0870.