Ecommerce’s UK value is set to reach a staggering £168bn by the end of 2019, according to the latest estimates (source: ecommerce News). This astonishing - and seemingly non-stop - rise in online sales is driven by consumer demand for choice and convenience. And just as buying a product or service is just a simple click away for shoppers, they now expect ease of collection too.
The inexorable rise of click and collect poses a logistical problem for many merchants. How can they provide a frictionless experience, with pick-up of purchases just as straight-forward as the sales process?
The answer lies in the growing legion of secure lockers that are springing up across the country, tailoring the ultimate personalised service for customers, while also improving the bottom line for retailers. These customised, aesthetic solutions are solving the headache of ‘last mile’ fulfilment for retailers and ecommerce companies with a number of beneficial features.
First, modular locker design affords flexibility, meaning they can be located in the most convenient place not just for the shopper but also for the retailer. Remember that once someone is in-store, they are more likely to make further purchases - so it’s the ideal op-portunity to use a smooth reserve and collect experience to get tills ringing.
Convenience is key. As lockers are available 24/7, consumers can fit their collection around their own schedule and are not pinned down to the store’s opening hours.
The lockers’ state-of-the-art technology gives consumers peace of mind knowing that their items can be securely stored until they’re ready to take them, without fear of damage or theft. Importantly, the solution also provides an audit trail from reservation to collection.
Lockers offer a logistics solution that operates as a seamless extension of any retail brand, with satisfied self-serve customers sure to return. Their use also has the knock-on effect of freeing up store staff for other tasks, rather than fumbling around in the stock room looking for people’s orders.
These features are an example of the type of smart retail that will be key to high-street stores’ health in years to come. As long as shops are able to offer cutting-edge solutions to consumers, they will remain a strong link in the omnichannel chain.
No one is doing this better than Nike in the US. At its New York City flagship store, Ni-kePlus members can reserve items over the phone and have them held in an in-store lock-er, ready for pick-up whenever is convenient. Likewise, members on the other side of the US can access the LA store via the Nike app to order and collecting at a time that works for them.
Now more than ever, it is crucial for retailers to deliver products into the hands of consum-er wherever and whenever they want them. Choice and convenience continue to boost footfall at a time when UK stores need it most. Secure lockers can be a game-changer when it comes to end-to-end ecommerce fulfilment, bringing the gap between online and physical shopping.