How Parcel Lockers Can Improve Last-Mile Delivery

In 2019, more people than ever are shopping online, making efficient delivery to homes and offices more challenging than ever. One solution is parcel delivery lockers, which are quickly becoming a familiar sight in stores, malls and other public places.

“Parcel lockers are becoming popular because of the convenience,” said Tessa English, director, industrial and logistics at JLL. “Consumers have more control over when they pick up their shopping, rather than having to wait for deliveries or risk parcels being left in the wrong place.”

Global sports retailer Decathlon recently rolled out parcel lockers in its 1,500 stores as part of a click-to-collect service. Amazon has had lockers in supermarkets and transport hubs for the past few years.

Using parcel lockers, online shoppers select the lockers as an option during checkout, and then receive a QR or SMS code which will open the locker once the parcel is delivered.

Parcel lockers are also a means to address challenges for retailers such as the cost of last mile deliveries from warehouses to homes and offices. Delivering packages to customers that aren’t home can cause delays on delivery routes.

“Delivering to parcel lockers means a van could drop off dozens of orders at each delivery point, rather than just one,” said English. “This reduces vehicle movements and the number of vehicles required, which offers retailers and operators better route and cost efficiencies.”

The right location is also key to the success of parcel lockers. Consumer habits have an impact on location decisions, but the lockers are usually placed in areas with high foot traffic, such as supermarkets and train stations.

Lockers also need to be in secure locations with good surveillance to minimize the risk of theft.

“A good location depends on retailer customer profiles – how frequently customers order and where they live. This is where big data can provide insight into the most effective locations,” said English.

It is also expected that retailers will partner with new residential and mixed-use developments in the future, to add blocks of lockers that can be accessed by residents and visitors.

“With many more goods going through the parcel network, there will be increased demand for convenient last-mile delivery options,” said English. “Retailers want to enable a more seamless, easy delivery. Parcel lockers are one part of the solution.”

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