im retail blog 2021 10 en

What problems does the delivery automation solve?

The e-commerce sector is constantly developing, dozens of new stores appear, more and more entrepreneurs notice the potential of creating online businesses. Such a development has consequences in the form of an increasing number of parcels to be handled. This becomes a direct burden on transport corporations, which are responsible for fast, safe and efficient delivery of goods to end recipients.

For years, many supply chain processes have been done manually, through the hands of employees, which could cause frustration both for them and for the recipients of packages. This translated into the possibility of making many mistakes.

Customer expectations also did not remain at the same level. Currently, one of the factors determining competition in the market is the time and flexibility of delivery.

 

The future of the postal sector

 

The 21st century is the age of automation. It also affects the postal sector more and more, supporting the delivery process. How? What are the challenges that businesses based on deliveries are facing that can be successfully solved by a well-implemented click & collect system? In the following sections, we present 8 problems that can be solved by automatic parcel stations:

 

  • Human resources – it takes time to handle shipments and get them properly delivered to final recipients. What’s more, seasonal peaks, such as Christmas, generate more orders, while reducing the workforce (occasional holidays, winter sickness). Click & collect deliveries significantly increase the efficiency of the process, reducing the number of hands needed to handle the same number of parcels.

 

  • Accessibility of recipients – according to the research, most recipients of parcels are of professional or educational age. Therefore, it is very difficult to deliver parcels so that the recipient is available at the right address. Failed delivery attempts force repeated deliveries, generating costs and using the couriers’ valuable time. Parcel stations allow you to pick up orders at a convenient time, regardless of the courier’s working time.

 

  • Storage of parcels – unclaimed parcels need to be stored somewhere until delivery is possible. This leads to a large number of them remaining in company headquarters, occupying space and generating unnecessary costs.

 

  • Security – Privacy and data protection are serious issues, so post-room processes must protect from deliveries to the wrong addresses. Shipping and collection from the parcel terminal allows you to better control the entire process while maintaining greater anonymity.

 

  • Inefficiency – Companies try to do more with less and invest in technology to improve efficiency and lower costs. Increasing staff to handle the growing number of shipments is not in line with this trend.

 

  • Missed Opportunities – Late deliveries can mean missed business opportunities. In addition, staff time spent sorting shipments could be better spent elsewhere.

 

  • Cost of failure – it may be necessary to replace lost parcels, for a fee. Moreover, employee time wasted due to unsuccessful delivery attempts and a laborious, inefficient, manual process is a cost for the company

 

  • Traceability – All of these issues can make postal workers vulnerable. Digitizing many aspects of the process can protect them with traceable digital records, rather than relying on error-prone paper processes.

 

Will automation help?

 

As you can see, parcel machines enable more efficient shipment management while improving security, all while providing much more freedom to recipients, who in the 21st century are mobile and difficult to grasp.

The harmonization of the courier and the recipient is no longer necessary. The parcel is placed in a secure parcel station and the recipient is notified by e-mail or SMS containing the code that opens the designated locker. It is also a system that frees up staff to do other things.

 

SelfLocker self-service solutions for courier services are available in the I’mRetail offer. For more information, go HERE.

 

im retail blog 2021 09 en

Click & collect in retail

We entered the 21st century already over twenty years ago. During this period, we have witnessed a tremendous acceleration in technology development. Many elements of everyday life and almost all sectors of the economy have been digitized. Changes were happening before our eyes at a pace that we could hardly follow. Particularly noteworthy is the emergence and increase in popularity of the Internet, as well as ubiquitous automation. These two elements changed the face of the service and industry sectors forever, but thanks to them the real revolution has come to retail.

 

Digital Trade

 

Did you know that in 2020 over 21.3% of all sales took place on the Internet? In the US alone, this translates to nearly a trillion dollars in items and services offered and purchased through the world’s largest digital medium. The numbers are impressive, but they also have far-reaching consequences. Online shopping requires extended logistics, after all, every single package must finally be in the hands of the buyer. With such a rapidly growing number of shipments, it was imperative to develop solutions that would simplify the delivery process. This is how parcel lockers were born. They centralize the last mile, reducing the need to deliver to many individual addresses, positively influencing the environment, economy and traffic congestion of cities. We have already written more about last mile logistics in THIS article.

 

A solution that amazed the world

 

The parcel machines have been very successful. The data shows that over 30% of e-commerce customers choose the option of delivery to these devices. No wonder that their potential has also been noticed in other branches of retail, but also in the service sector, and the whole idea of ​​using this type of vending machine to handle all types of orders has been named as click & collect. Its development can be especially noticed over the last year, when the world has plunged into the coronavirus pandemic and all forms of non-contact services have become desirable and valued.

Automated parcel terminals also began to appear in front of traditional stores, linking the world of e-commerce with stationary outlets. What are the advantages of such a hybrid solution?

 

 

 

Is the terminal in front of the store a „must have”?

 

No, it’s not a necessity, but it’s a great idea to simplify daily shopping experience and make it more enjoyable, faster and more convenient.

Supermarkets, large food discount stores and DIY stores are characterized by a large area, filled to the brim with a diverse assortment. Additionally, their layout is changed from time to time, which confuses customers. These elements add up to the fact that these daily purchases takes much time, becoming frustrating in the long run. In addition, shops are becoming overcrowded, so clients need to jostle and stand in long lines.

In the 21st century, some of the above problems were solved by e-commerce, enabling remote shopping with home delivery. A seemingly ideal solution, but here are also some logistical problems in the form of unfavorable time deliveries (absence at home), or often too long waiting for the shipment.

The click & collect system implemented in parallel with traditional stores combines the advantages of both worlds, showing that the golden mean does really exist. Thanks to this, each customer can do shopping in the online store during a break at work, and pick up their order on the same day straight from the automatic locker. The store’s opening hours are also not a problem, as the stations operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so pickup is possible at any time of the day or night. No tedious and time-consuming wandering between the aisles, no waiting for the courier, no nerves.

As the above examples show, the use of automatic parcel stations is a universal solution, but their role in the difficult period of a pandemic cannot be overestimated. Recent events have shown that during the difficult period of lockdown, they help stores keep their lives and customers to make necessary purchases in a safe manner. Of course, there is also the hygienic and sanitary aspect, i.e. the fact that the entire process takes place without contact or even touchlessly (thanks to dedicated app), which effectively prevents the risk of spreading the disease to others.

SelfMaker can boast of implementing such a system in the Leroy Merlin DIY store chain, and you can read a more detailed description of this project on the blog at: https://www.selfmaker.uk/business-case-szybkomat-24-7-click-collect-system-in-leroy-merlin-stores-based-on-selflocker-devices/

 

Rivals are not asleep

 

In order to stand out from the competition in the 21st century, it is not enough to tempt with promotions, low prices, a rich assortment, you have to go a step further and provide your customers with such conditions that will make them want to stay with the brand for longer. Today’s customers value saving time and nerves even more than saving money, and this can be ensured by a properly designed click & collect system, which will reduce the time wasted on essential shopping from a few hours to just a few minutes. The idea of click & collect in trade is a hit and a precise targeting of the needs of a large part of socjety. And this guarantees its further development and spreading increasingly wider circles, including other sectors of the economy.

im retail blog 2021 05 en

Trends 2021: Automation and Ecology

The 21st century has become an arena of struggle between two seemingly opposite worlds. One of them is unstoppable technological progress, the development of modern industrial and digital solutions. The growing ecological awareness of the society becomes the other pole. The planet we live on is the most precious commodity we have, a good that is very easy to destroy, and impossible to rebuild. Both of these opposites are, however, an integral part of today’s life. So how to reconcile them? Is the growth possible without harming the environment?

 

Joined forces

It seems that the above-mentioned fight is not the only solution, and technological progress along with ecology can go hand in hand to improve condition of our precious, green house. Technology is not only about gloomy, smoking factories that pollute the atmosphere, rivers and soil. For many years, science has fought for the most effective ways to reduce the amount of poisonous waste, as well as the most productive use of renewable energy sources. More efficient wind turbines, photovoltaic panels and energy storage facilities are created. Chimneys are equipped with 21st century filters, capable of capturing a huge percentage of pollutants. So why is the Earth still struggling with the problem of climate warming, the greenhouse effect? At the moment, this is mainly due to the smallest elements of infrastructure – single-family houses, cars.

 

Green houses, green roads

For several years, however, we have seen an increase in the popularity of “green houses.” Co-financing programs are being developed for installations obtaining clean energy (photovoltaics), heat pumps, and thermo-modernization of buildings. The effects are immediately visible, both in households’ wallets, but also in the emission of pollutants caused by these buildings. It is estimated that the energy efficiency of houses equipped with such solutions increases by up to 50% compared to traditional ones. However, in order for these actions to have an impact on global changes, they need to be implemented on a huge scale.

The automotive industry also follows ecological trends and looks for solutions to reduce the emission of exhaust gases harmful to humans and the environment. More and more often, we meet hybrid or fully electric cars on the street, and even the traditional, internal combustion ones are being equipped with technologically advanced systems limiting emissions and purifying gases leaving the car’s exhaust.

 

Ecological automation

The automation of key stages of logistics processes, especially in the field of postal shipments, is also moving towards sustainable development that supports ecology. This is happening on several levels, however, smart parcel stations play a fundamental role in them.

From year to year, we observe a significant increase in the turnover of the e-commerce sector. Its effect is the constantly growing number of packages that have to be sent to their addressees. Only in 2020, partly due to the epidemic threat, over 25% increase in e-commerce sales was recorded. Moreover, experts predict that consumer habits will persist in this channel also after the crisis has ended.

Switching to this sales model requires advanced logistics, millions of kilometers traveled, thousands of liters of fuel burned while driving and during a stop necessary to deliver the shipment. All this translates into the emission of a large amount of harmful substances into the atmosphere, poisoning it, and indirectly all of us. In the traditional delivery model, it is necessary to deliver the parcel to each address, even if there is a small parcel or letter to be delivered. In addition, the absence of the addressee forces an additional delivery attempt, causing unnecessary tension on both sides. The use of parcel machines significantly reduces all the above-described inconveniences by limiting the courier’s route to specific centralized points without the need to visit many places.

 

The last mile can be green

How much does the use of parcel lockers improve the efficiency of deliveries at the “last mile” stage? According to the report “Analysis of parcel lockers’ efficiency as the last mile delivery solution – the results of the research in Poland” from 2015, delivery to automated parcel stations allows to make up to 10 times more shipments, while reducing the average distance traveled by the courier in one day from 150 to 70 kilometers. Such changes entail a 20-fold reduction in fuel costs per year, and the amount of carbon dioxide emitted during the process is reduced from 22.5 million tonnes to just 1.5 million a year. Such numbers make a colossal impression and show that the use of this type of devices has a very solid economic and environmental justification.

 

The future is here

In the era of prevailing ecological trends, the use of parcel lockers is justified, and their effectiveness in reducing pollutant emissions has been proven by numerous studies. Despite the fact that they have settled for good on the polish market, many industries still do not see their potential. With their help, you can carry out a very wide range of tasks, both postal and related to the provision of all kinds of services, the delivery of subscriptions, grocery shopping and more. It is certain that in the coming years we can expect a further increase in the share of these technologically advanced, yet easy to use devices.

 

If you want to participate in a technological revolution that will positively affect the natural environment and at the same time increase the sales of your traditional or online store. Contact us. Our specialists will find optimal solutions for you.

infografika selflocker zajawka blog PL EN 1290x830 oo

Selflocker Logistics Ecosystem, or what should you know about the operation of our parcel lockers

The most important, but at the same time the most complicated stage of transporting each product is the so-called “last mile”. We wrote more about this in our earlier article. This phase begins when the parcel is collected from the seller and ends with delivery to the door of the final recipient. The last mile is the culmination of the logistics process, and its efficiency affects the appropriate receipt and evaluation of both the supplier and the store where the goods were purchased.

In order to introduce you to the circumstances that make SelfLocker parcel machines the perfect solution to support “last mile” logistics, we have prepared a special, clear infographic. You will learn what the forecast for the Polish e-commerce market looks like for the coming years and how much you can gain by introducing parcel machines to your company.

 

im-retail-blog-2021-02-en-1

Why is last mile logistics so important in business?

Every product you use has come a long way, often thousands of kilometers. From material producers, through production lines, containers, warehouses, finally coming into your hands. The whole process is complicated and multi-stage, and to be accurately carried out, each phase should be smooth and quick. However, this last stage of the whole journey is the decisive one, it is the final touch, the culmination of all activities. We call it “the last mile”.

 

A marathon with a sprint finish

 

The moment when courier takes the package for delivery starts the “last mile” – a stage that is some kind of race against time on the track between the warehouse or distribution center and the customer’s home. Until this time, all logistics was carried out massively. The production and transport of the product took place in large batches and each component process was a multiplication of certain pre-planned activities. It is the “last mile” phase, when the supply chain breaks down into small pieces. Each copy of the product goes in its own direction, towards its future owner.

There are millions of such products. There are also millions of customers waiting for their shipment. At this stage, the delivery process becomes more complicated. Therefore, properly organized “last mile” logistics is important both for increasingly impatient customers, but also (or perhaps above all) for sellers and suppliers trying to meet these requirements.

 

The easier it gets, the harder it is

 

Never before has it been easier to create your own business based on trade than now, when Internet access is commonplace. Creating an online store is often a matter of a few productive days, and the right choice of products can result in hundreds of packages to be sent to new buyers. However, this is not the only factor that complicates the delivery process. With such a large number of stores, fierce competition is born, the stake of which is to retain the customer for longer. And about that, even small details can decide.

The end customer is usually not aware of the entire logistic process, the entire path of the goods from the moment of their production. The purchase decision itself is made much later, so it is the efficiency of the “last mile” mileage that determines the quality of service provided by a given seller.

 

The clock is ticking

 

Changing the status of an order to “out for delivery” turns the clock in the mind of every buyer. The 21st century kills our patience and makes us used to live in an „instant” mode. We have a hard time waiting, we want everything here and now. No wonder that the waiting time for a package with a freshly ordered smartphone or a new game is endless. How impatient are we? Research shows that as many as 30% of customers are willing to pay extra for the order, only to get their goods few hours earlier.

The result of this rush is the intensive growth of the global “last mile” market. According to the “Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2021-2026” report, its projected value for 2026 is $66 billion. This is almost a twofold increase compared to 2020 (39 billion dollars). The projected growth rate over the period 2021-2026 is 9%.

So how to invest to achieve high efficiency of this key phase of the delivery process?

 

Strength lies in quantity

 

One solution is to go back to the roots and try to join together individual routes of shipments. Automatic parcel lockers that are becoming more and more popular can be used for this. This solution creates a win-win situation between the addressee of the shipment, the courier company and the seller. Those mentioned first have a very fast, convenient form of delivery, which allows picking up the package at a convenient time. Couriers also do not have to go around the vast neighbourhoods looking for their destination, stop every few dozen meters and leave the heated cabin of the car again and again. It is also a much more advantageous option for the service of the online store itself, which has an easier way of addressing parcels, and the store itself gains customers satisfied with the instant delivery of the desired product.

 

This mile is last, but it is the most important – take care of it

 

It is an unwritten duty of every online store owner to ensure the satisfaction of their customers. There are many ways. You can bet on a unique range, above-average quality of products, or something else that will stand out from many similar places. However, each of these features will be overshadowed by not considered last mile logistics, because in the 21st century even the best product loses its attractiveness if the waiting period for its delivery is too long.

im-retail-blog-2021-04-en-1700x956

The benefits of contactless delivery

The coronavirus has turned most people’s lives upside down. We had to learn how to live in a new normality, based on measures and actions which aim to limit the further spread of the epidemic. We wear masks, disinfect our hands, stick to the limits in premises, and above that all, we maintain the so-called “social distancing”.

However, regardless of the restrictions, life goes on. We still need to eat, dress, maintain hygiene, take medicines, work. It would not be possible without shopping. So how can we combine these two opposites? The answer is obvious – the Internet.

The increase in e-commerce sales in 2020 for Central and Eastern Europe amounted to as much as 21.5% on an annual basis. According to the study “Internet trade in Poland 2020. Analysis and development forecast for the e-commerce market for 2020-2025”, it was estimated that Poland is above this average with the result of 26% y/y.

 

The pandemic changed the last mile

 

As the share of e-commerce in retail sales grows, so does the number of parcels required to be shipped. Their delivery, which we have known for years, has always been associated with interpersonal contact. Handing over a parcel between the courier and the reciever, signatures, collection reports, cash on delivery payment. In the era of the raging coronavirus, all these activities may pose a potential risk of infection, so it is recommended to avoid them.

The result is a huge increase in the popularity of automatic, smart parcel stations, which provide a very simple, convenient and, above all, 100% contactless parcel pickup. The benefits of using them are visible especially in the current situation, but the proper, hygienic habits that we acquire thanks to them will become invaluable also after the end of the sanitary regime.

 

Parcel lockers in the service of hygiene

 

So what are the most important benefits of switching to non-contact delivery via automatic delivery machines?

  • limiting direct contact – during a pandemic, social distance is the basis for keeping the disease under control. We are social creatures, therefore such behavior is not natural for us. The use of non-contact delivery enforces social distance in its most effective form, preventing physical contact with other people;

 

  • cashless payments – parcel locker gives the possibility of paying for the shipment or the goods without cash;

 

  • safety of employees and customers – thanks to the forced reduction of interpersonal contact, it is easier to maintain good health condition of couriers, without exposing companies to staff shortages;

 

  • reducing the risk of spreading the infection – with such a contagious disease as we are currently dealing with, the effects of non-contact delivery may influence not only a micro scale, so the people directly involved in the delivery process, but also on a macro scale. Stopping one person from getting infected can, in fact, prevent dozens or even hundreds of people from getting sick.

 

Not only security

 

In addition to the benefits resulting directly from the non-contact form of delivery, there are also a number of indirect advantages resulting from the use of this type of solution. Due to the fact that contactless delivery is carried out using parcel terminals, we can indicate many other side benefits, such as:

  • reduction of the distance traveled by couriers – installation of a parcel machine in the vicinity of a larger housing estate saves the employees of courier companies a lot of time, and significantly reduces the costs of the delivery process. In this case, the courier does not have to visit each house separately, but all parcels are delivered to one properly located place;

 

  • flexibility of picking up the parcel – a parcel left in the parcel locker can be picked up by the addressee at any time. It gives a great sense of freedom and reduces the hassle of having to be at home during the courier’s visit. This solution is extremely comfortable.

 

  • the ability to precisely check the condition of the package – each package may be damaged during transport. With traditional delivery, the presence of a courier may be embarrassing for some, and it imposes time pressure. Damage to the parcel can then be omitted, which causes problems with a later return. During collection in a locker, we can freely and accurately see if the goods we ordered are intact. If they are not, the machine gives you the option of immediate return of the package.

 

It’s time for click & collect

 

This summary shows that changing the way of delivering parcels to a non-contact one will result in a noticeable improvement in safety and comfort of life on many different fronts. Both for customers and suppliers, but also for shop owners – those online as well as traditional ones. No wonder that the click & collect market has seen enormous increases in recent years, reaching up to over a dozen percent per year. One of the factors supporting this trend is the current epidemic situation, however, research shows that the habits acquired today will survive and the entire industry will systematically develop. This is the best time to consider an investment in automatic parcel lockers that will benefit you and your customers in the coming years. Let us convince you of this in a face-to-face meeting.

Click to contact us!