The Future of E-Commerce and Smart Parcel Lockers


Logistics innovations

The meteoric rise of eCommerce, fueled by Covid-19, continues to reach records, with consumers’ buying behaviors forever changed. During the current economic challenges, eCommerce sales grew almost 21% in 2020, reaching $52 billion in Canada. In 2021, retail eCommerce will continue to increase an additional 12.5%, and by 2024 eCommerce sales will likely reach almost $80 billion in Canada.

This rise has been a significant tailwind for established eCommerce companies and a savior for many retailers who have shut down their stores because of government-enforced closures. Moving forward, selling online is going to be imperative for every retailer. With the incredible increase in online shopping and parcel deliveries, retailers, consumers, and parcel couriers face many challenges and demands.

Examples include:

  • Eliminating parcel theft
  • Reducing missed deliveries
  • Streamlining in-store pickups
  • A way to lower shipping costs
  • Reducing the cost and improving the convenience of product returns
  • Giving consumers additional options on how they receive their parcels

On top of the challenges and demands, there is a growing concern that the current delivery methods and processes are not great for the environment or urban center liveability.

What is the Solution?

Is there a solution that can address the above demands and challenges? The answer is yes, and it’s starting to make its way into the marketplace and, over the next five years, will become the main component in eCommerce logistics in North America. The solution? Smart Parcel Lockers are also known as Automated Parcel Lockers.

Smart Parcel Lockers are intelligent electronic devices that automate the receipt, storage, and dissemination of items. Streamlining deposits is accomplished by scanning an item. Once it has been placed into the locker and is ready for pick up, the recipient is sent a notification with a pickup code that they can enter or scan at the locker to retrieve their item. These lockers are secure, modular, easy to use, can be installed both indoors and outdoors, and can be customized to display a brand or a message.

Addressing the Challenges

Here are specific ways Smart Lockers address the challenges discussed earlier:

Chart of the challenges smart lockers solve

Smart Lockers are an efficient, technical marvel as a standalone device. However, as their density grows in a geographical area, their value increases exponentially. For example, consider a ubiquitous network of lockers spread throughout North America in public locations, residential and commercial buildings, malls, and storefronts.

The power of this network comes from creating a country-wide distribution network available for any courier, retailer, or consumer to take advantage of, regardless of their location. The network magnifies the appeal and the benefits described in the table, given the scope of who can use them and the economies scale of delivering and picking up more parcel volume on a per-location basis. Furthermore, the movement of parcels can occur between lockers 24/7, giving a whole new dimension to the possibilities of how parcels get picked up and dropped off.

A network of this size also allows for the mobilization of part-time workforces to participate in the movement of goods that will cost less than traditional methods while offering new levels of service expectations.

Logistics Technology

Technology is always adapted when it delivers demonstrable benefits to a group of people. In the case of Smart Parcel Lockers, they provide a multi-faceted role in parcel shipping whose power will only grow as their numbers increase and inevitably becomes an integral part of the landscape of eCommerce parcel delivery.

At ParcelPort, we’re focused on designing, deploying, and supporting Smart Parcel Locker solutions. We’re passionate about helping to build a future that includes a ubiquitous network of Smart Parcel Lockers, given their ability to add value for Commercial & Residential Property Managers and Builders, Retailers, Consumers, and Parcel Couriers. ParcelPort is a wholly-owned Canadian company focused on designing, deploying, and supporting Smart Parcel Locker solutions. We differentiate ourselves through innovation, solution development, and a passion for delighting our customers.

To learn more about how your organization can maximize smart lockers to reduce cost, increase revenue, and delight your customers, contact the ParcelPort team online by visiting or calling 1-800-818-0870.