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How Smart Lockers Make the Return Process Hassle Free

The past few years since the COVID-19 pandemic hit us hard, it has been nothing if not generous towards the eCommerce sector of business. The ramifications of the shift in shopping trends this has created will be with us for years to come.

Among the many benefits it brought along, it has also created considerable difficulties, mainly because we were completely unprepared to face the challenges of this shift. Among the difficulties are parcel management and last mile logistics.

Transitioning from having a buyer stop by at a store, pick out the items personally and going to the checkout, we now have a longer and more complicated chain. A chain in which BOPIS lockers in BC are a way of uncomplicating things. But let’s get there first.

Outlining the Problems with Parcel Management

Among the things that parcel management on this new scale results in are returns. The veritable flood of returned goods is harming sales, causing environmental harm, damages brand reputations, and can cause entire businesses to collapse.

Why you need BOPIS Lockers in Ontario: The Extent of the Problem

We will go by US numbers because they’ve been published in more detail but our readers can extrapolate in the understanding that Canada is not that different in essence. Back in 2020 when the trends were just beginning to form, US customers returned a total of $428 Billion in merchandise. Of those returns, just under 6% were fraudulent, totalling in over $25 Billion.

Among the many reasons for returns is inexperienced buyers who found themselves confused in the online shopping world. Pandemic consumers didn’t know how to choose the right size for shoes and apparel. Some ended up purchasing multiple sizes or colours, only to return the ones that didn’t work out.

BOPIS lockers in Calgary have reduced this phenomenon to its bare infrequent minimum. Before this, for every item of clothing kept, two or three were returned. Picking up from a locker allowed for the unwanted items to never have been picked up. Just like in-store shopping.

More on Trends and Parcel Management

Today’s consumers were seduced by and had grown accustomed to free shipping and no questions asked return policies. Both those things are nowadays expected to both produce any sales and to retain customer loyalty in the long run.

Over 80% of consumers demand free shipping and over 60% expect no-hassle returns. This is a problem. Returns with no questions asked harm the seller to a prohibitively expensive degree.

All retailers realise the unsustainability of this model of business, there is no argument there. However, no one wants to risk their immediate reputation and bottom line by backing out of the existing status quo.

Another way out needs to be found. And quickly.

Contemplating a Solution: BOPIS lockers in BC to the Rescue

Wasting Billions of dollars on reverse logistics was just not going to work, especially considering the fact this number was only rising. In an effort to alleviate a major pain involved in returning, restocking and managing all of this backflow, technology was considered and rose to the task.

There are some really elaborate approaches out there, including Walmart purchasing Zeekit, a virtual fitting room start-up. The buyer would upload a picture of themselves and get to “try on” outfits to see how they look in them. Shopify was doing something similar and saw a reduction of 40% in return rates by buyers who tried the virtual fitting of purchases prior to buying them.

Another solution was Retrunly, a company founded back in 2014 with the sole purpose of helping retailers reduce return-related frictions. Another similar company named Happy Returns was purchased by PayPal for the exact same purpose. In addition to managing returns however, it also helps to reduce aggregated waste by employing reusable containers

But the one solution that costs less and saves more is definitely the smart touchless locker. BOPIS lockers in Ontario have been found to be a solution that, with minimal investment, can make things easier for all involved. A buyer gets access to a completely painless return process (takes less than 30 seconds) and the seller gets to enjoy an unprecedented level of savings.

BOPIS Lockers in Calgary: The Method

The reason Calgary is such a good example is because of the relatively large distances and travel routes that increase the cost of returns.

But let’s be methodical and go over the method one point at a time.

The way the system works is as follows:

  1. A customer initiates a return process online on a mobile app
  2. They select “Drop Off” as they approach the locker and a barcode is generated
  3. A locker is selected and assigned in accordance to the items that are being returned
  4. The return is deposited in the locker, which scans the item confirming it’s there
  5. A signal is sent to the vendor/manager via an automated cloud-based system
  6. One employee goes to the lockers and collects the returns on the next day

In most such cases however, things are even simpler than that. The return is initiated during pickup. After all, the lockers are there to get the purchases to the consumers first. Once they come by to pick them up, knowing full well that items may not fit, they will open and examine them on the spot.

In such scenarios, the return is not even a return but items not being picked up. They stay in the locker to be retrieved back into the store the next day. No return requests, no shipping labels, very little chance of damaged packaging and barely any additional parcel management.

If you’d like to know more about smart parcel lockers for click and collect, as well as the additional benefits they bring, we recommend visiting our website. They are the industry leading experts in the distribution of smart locker technology in Canada and are known for their great customer service!

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