As e-commerce booms, the world’s leading retailers must set themselves apart from the competition. Using physical stores as micro-distribution centers for the buy online, pick up in store experience gives an edge.
Research suggested that 76 percent of online shoppers will be using click-and-collect services in 2017. That number only continues to grow. But, despite the increase in click-and-collect usage, shoppers grow frustrated with their pickup experience. Many cite long waiting times, for example, and a lack of in-store employees to help as sources of stress.
To combat this, innovative retailers are turning to automated package lockers. These units seamlessly link their e-commerce experience to their physical locations.
Rise of the Machine
Using automated package locker technology, several brick-and-mortar stores are enhancing their customers’ shopping experience. These solutions save time, letting customers pick up their online orders in seconds.
Imagine purchasing an item online. Then, walk up to an automated vending machine at the store, and get your package instantly.
Enter: the PackRobot. A 16-foot tall, automated package terminal lets customers pick up their online order in seconds. Once employees assemble orders, the customer receives an email or text message with a code. They then simply walk up to the PackRobot, scan their code, and retrieve their order. This simple approach to online order pickup reduces time dramatically. Rather than a 15-minute online-order pickup process, consumers can retrieve in under 15 seconds.
Smart Robotics Technology, Meet Cloud-based Software
Bell and Howell and Cleveron, an Estonia-based company, launched the pilot in 2016. Since then, more than 100 locations feature the automated package locker in 2017. Both companies recently announced the successful installation of the 100th PackRobot in the U.S. Plans to add nearly 1,000 additional units in 2018 are in the works.
Bell and Howell is Cleveron’s exclusive distributor in North America, and provides the installation, remote monitoring and preventative maintenance for all customers in the region.
The Wonders of the PackRobot
Unlike traditional automated package lockers that use a fixed number of preset locker sizes, the PackRobot uses a 3D-lift system, which measures each package’s dimensions and dynamically configures a locker slot to optimally secure it. As a result, it can hold up to 520 packages simultaneously, and only requires 72 square feet of floor space. It can be used in both indoors and outdoors environments thanks to adjustable internal climate control.