Zero Day Delivery: The Smart Locker Solution


Logistics innovations

When 2-day delivery first launched, many retailers were skeptical that it would catch on. The infrastructure required to provide this service felt unattainable for most businesses. But, with the growth of large online companies, retailers were pressured into offering quick-turn shipping options. Almost 70% of shoppers now expect a 2-day delivery option when they order a product online.

Initially, the demand for fast delivery was an effective marketing tactic, helping companies reduce ad spending while maintaining a high eCommerce conversion rate. Today there is pressure on retailers to provide faster options than 2-day delivery. And with more retailers offering fast delivery, the need to increase ad spending is on the rise again.

The same-day delivery market is up almost 20% in year-over-year analyses, and that number is only expected to rise. Despite the associated infrastructure challenges, retailers strategize on how to address this growing need amongst their customers.

The Challenge for Retailers

While more customers expect fast shipping options, not all retailers are equipped to provide them. Small-to-mid-sized retailers don’t have the logistical power to pull off quick-turn shipping without overspending. Even hiring couriers or gig drivers can incur a prohibitive cost.

In addition to paying for shipping or couriers, smaller retailers must also rely heavily on in-store staff to collect and package purchased items. While this might be feasible for businesses with dedicated warehouse staff, it is not possible for most brick-and-mortar retail establishments. If 2-day delivery was already a stretch for many smaller businesses, same-day delivery seems nearly impossible.

The Rise of Smart Locker Networks

For small- and mid-sized retailers who wish to offer fast shipping and delivery, there is a solution on the horizon promising to provide zero-day delivery for a fraction of the cost – Smart Locker networks. Smart Locker solutions have already been proven in Europe and the Far East. Now it is North America’s turn.

Built by companies like ParcelPort, Smart Locker networks are dedicated, secure devices to deposit and collect purchased items. While Smart Locker networks are still in the development stage, eventually, a Smart Locker will be accessible within a short walk or drive from a person’s residence – often within 1 to 2 kilometers.

A ParcelPort Smart Locker

A ParcelPort Smart Locker

The success of Smart Lockers has indeed been proven. For example, 53% of all deliveries are deposited into Smart Lockers in Lithuania. In addition, Poland has around 16,000 Smart Lockers to help support delivery infrastructure.

Smart Lockers can house frequently purchased items and serve as a delivery hub for a particular area. Retailers can use real-time purchasing data to see which items are popular in a community, then stock those items in nearby lockers. Conversely, retailers can simplify shipping by dropping purchased items within a specific zip code at a central source rather than driving to individual homes and residences, reducing outbound shipping costs by up to 50%.

Additional Smart Locker Applications

In addition to Smart Locker networks’ usefulness for same-day delivery, they can also warehouse popular products. Smart Lockers can be pre-loaded with popular items similar to a vending machine. However, unlike vending machines, the type of inventory that can be stored is not limited by a specific design.

Local retailers may also rent excess capacity within Smart Lockers to ensure inventory is close to their customers. Here are a few examples of the ways retailers can capitalize on point-of-need sales – even if they don’t have the personalized consumer insights of larger companies.

  • Craft stores can stock items in neighborhoods with many children.
  • Pet stores can stock dog leashes, treats, food, and toys near dog parks.
  • Bike shops can store parts, repair kits, and tire pumps near popular cycling trails.
  • Retailers that stock beach gear can store umbrellas, towels, sunscreen, and beach toys in beach parking lots.
  • Outdoors retailers can stock hiking equipment and snacks in Smart Lockers near popular hiking trailheads.
  • Auto retailers can stock parts, oil, and emergency equipment in areas far from auto parts stores or mechanics.
  • Grocery retailers can stock water bottles, Gatorade, and snacks near parks where local sports leagues play.
  • Office supply stores could store ink cartridges, pens, and paper in large office parks or near company campuses.

Notably, Smart Lockers are an inexpensive asset for most retailers. While some businesses may consider extreme lengths to afford 2-day and same-day delivery, such as raising new capital or taking on debt – Smart Lockers provide an affordable option for businesses of all sizes.

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, email at or calling 1-800-818-0870.