How automated lockers can improve customer experience (while boosting revenue)

1 Mar 2021

Even before COVID-19, the ‘Buy Online Pick Up in Store’ (BOPIS) strategy and the use of automated lockers to support it was steadily growing.

In a survey quoted in the online trade title ‘Retail Trends’, more than two-thirds of shoppers (68%) had made multiple click-and-collect purchases. Their reasons for selecting the BOPIS option at checkout were compelling:

  • Savings on shipping costs (48%)
  • Greater speed (39%)
  • More convenience (28%)

For online retailers, the story is equally captivating. Click and collect options are proving to be a powerful conversion tool at the checkout with 50% of shoppers, quoted in the same survey, saying they chose a retailer based on BOPIS availability. The good news doesn’t end online, as 85% of shoppers have made extra in-store purchases while collecting an online order.

For the new ways of shopping

Even in normal times, it’s clear BOPIS offers shoppers an enhanced retail experience and positively impacts on the bottom line for retailers.

But these are not normal times. With the retail industry reeling from the ongoing effects of COVID-19 and giants such as Debenhams and Arcadia Group having already shut their doors, 2021 will be a pivotal year for the industry. 

It is becoming increasingly clear that changes to consumer behaviour will be deeper and more lasting than ever thought possible. Those retailers who are hoping to weather the storm and simply go back to business as usual are unlikely to survive.

To bring shoppers back to bricks and mortar stores, new retail concepts are needed to give them the confidence to return. This is where BOPIS and smart locker solutions can provide a lifeline for the industry. Recent research conducted by SaaS provider Qudini finds that BOPIS is being embraced by 62% of consumers as a way to reduce exposure to the coronavirus.

Safety first

The use of smart lockers offers both customers and in-store employees a safer and more convenient way of deploying BOPIS strategies, delivering a totally contactless solution.     

In 2019, cost savings, convenience and speed were the key factors influencing purchase for shoppers. In 2021, we would suggest cost savings are likely to take even greater prominence in purchasing decisions. However, one of our predictions for the year is that we will see contactless delivery featuring prominently in this list.

With the ongoing pandemic, packages handled by multiple people are liable to contamination as the virus can remain on certain hard surfaces for 24 hours or more. It’s difficult to maintain social distancing practices with standard package delivery and collection, particularly with the need to verify identity.

Going Contactless

Using a smart locker solution allows couriers or store staff to deposit packages directly into the compartments. The compartments can be designed in many shapes, sizes and configurations to suit the needs of the retailer. Of course, each compartment is separate which prevents the cross-contamination that can easily occur in busy stockrooms.

Delivery and collection times can be set to avoid busy periods in-store to support social distancing and reduce queues. It’s even possible to automatically set a quarantine period for the package so that it can remain in the locker for a specified period to further reduce the risk of infection to shoppers and couriers.

The lockers are easily wiped down with anti-bacterial and anti-viral cleaners and can even be specified to load from the rear so store staff can restock and cleanse the lockers without coming into contact with shoppers at all.

To collect their order, shoppers are sent an email or SMS with a pick-up time and a QR code, barcode or randomised entry code. Screens can be programmed with messages to remind shoppers about social distancing and the use of QR or barcodes ensure that the recipient doesn’t have to touch the screen. They simply present their smartphone to the reader and their locker door will open automatically.

Plan for success

Smart lockers are clearly the central technology to delivering a contactless BOPIS solution for both retailers and their chosen logistics partners. However, not all lockers are the same.

Meridian Digital Solutions have over 25 years of experience working globally with some of the world’s biggest brands to deliver automated kiosk and locker solutions, both in and out of store. 

We can offer you totally bespoke products and software solutions to meet the needs of your business, along with the consultancy and pre-sales expertise to ensure your solution delivers an amazing customer experience, fit for 2021.

Better still, no matter what the future holds, you’ll be able to keep trading no matter whether you’re allowed to open the doors to your store or not.

Find out more about automated lockers

Meridian Digital Solutions have over 25 years of experience working globally with some of the world’s biggest brands to deliver automated kiosk and locker solutions, both in and out of store. 

We can offer you totally bespoke products and software solutions to meet the needs of your logistics business, along with the consultancy and pre-sales expertise to ensure your solution delivers an amazing customer experience, fit for 2021. If you’d like to know more about automated lockers, please just get in touch and we’ll be delighted to help.

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