If you are a retail business manager who is just getting accustomed to a large franchise’s eCommerce platform or you already have a prolific activity in the industry, you may have studied the ‘click and collect’ phenomenon at some point.
After considering the various strategies and experiences of other industry players, you may have decided that a BOPIL approach (buy online, pick up in locker) would be most suitable for you.
The question you may now ask yourself or Google is, “How?”
- How do you set up automated storage lockers?
- How do we put them to use?
- How do you choose the best placement area?
Though SocialQ focuses on the software behind BOPIS and queue management, we will delve into the ‘offline’ side of the business and discuss a few essential on-site details. That way, when making a decision for your brand, you will have a more rounded perspective on the click and collect process.
Who Does BOPIL Work Best For — and How?
First of all, the BOPIL delivery solution can be described in the following steps:
- The shop receives the online order from the customer, as well as the click & collect command for pickup;
- The staff prepares the order for pick-up and places it inside the click and collect locker;
- The customer receives a notification on their phone or email address via the appointment booking platform. They will also be given a PIN code or a barcode to open the locker;
- When the package is ready, the shop notifies the customer (through email or text message);
- The customer arrives at the automated storage lockers. They enter the PIN code using a touchscreen — or scan the barcode — and pick up their purchase;
- When the customer retrieves the order, the shop marks it as complete.
Second, before deciding whether a BOPIL approach is right for your company, consider how retailers and customers can benefit from it, as well as what downsides there are:
It’s a convenient, flexible, and time-saving click and collect delivery method. Many customers prefer to avoid shipping costs by picking up their orders themselves.
To prove this point, a study published by Verizon in 2022 shows that, at least among American consumers, 75% prefer to pick up their purchase at a secure locker over home delivery or traditional shopping.
Furthermore, secure lockers can be used to return online orders, increasing convenience;
- Click and collect lockers can be placed in-store or outside. It’s a viable delivery option if you have a fully online store or a hybrid between an online shop and a brick-and-mortar one;
- Compared to home delivery, it can be more cost-effective and definitely more eco-friendly;
- More importantly, it bridges the gap between traditional retail and e-commerce. Your customers are able to enjoy the online shopping experience, as well as the on-site interaction with your brand.
If you are wondering about the disadvantages, you should consider if the costs and logistics are worth it if you run a small family shop, for example. Essentially, this delivery method has become popularised to avoid the inconvenience of crowded shopping environments, as well as to reach customers in distant locations.
Therefore, if you don’t operate in large volumes, perhaps a BOPIS strategy (with in-store pickup) is more suitable than renting additional space for the lockers.
4 Best Practice Tips for Setting Up Click and Collect Lockers
Let’s move on to — what we believe to be — the most important things to consider when installing automated storage lockers. These guidelines are beneficial for you and your customers alike.
Choose the Area Most Suitable for Your Brand
As we have mentioned earlier, click & collect lockers can be placed in various locations. In-store, at a partner store or closer to the target audience — such as the neighbourhood where they live or work — are the most recommended options.
Each idea is worthwhile in its own way. On the one hand, if you place the lockers in-store (the same way Lidl had done in the UK in 2020), you give your customers a pretence to do some last-minute shopping. It’s also more convenient for your staff.
On the other hand, if you choose an area closer to your clients’ neighbourhood, that would encourage them to place more online orders. Moreover, outside placement would allow customers to pick up their items after business hours.
As the saying goes, the choice is yours!
Simple Lockers or with Controlled Ambient?
Most click & collect lockers out there are simple and adequate for storing items like appliances, clothing, utensils, and nonperishable groceries.
However, to preserve more delicate items, you can set up locker compartments with specific ambient temperatures. These functions are usually controlled by software.
It is up to you to decide if you need this feature or if it’s enough to add cooling gel packs where necessary.
Ensure Accessibility and Security
Accessibility in design has always been essential in our daily lives, but it’s becoming more of a talking point nowadays, and people are making more conscious decisions about it.
When it comes to automated storage lockers, it can be difficult, at times, for customers to locate them if they are separated from the store. To make things easier, make sure a proper address is written down when they place the order, and install adequate signage at the location.
Furthermore, the touchscreen must be large enough to avoid typing mistakes — consider elderly people who have arthritic hands and require telephones with large buttons.
Touch-based kiosks can also be designed to accommodate blind users without interfering with the experience of other users.
It's a good idea to bring up these concerns when working with a secure locker manufacturer. Even if you don’t find an inclusive option right now, it's worthwhile to start the conversation and encourage better design in the future.
Lastly, consider that some customers may pick up their purchases at night and will require adequate lighting. Besides ensuring an artificial lighting source, it would be a safe decision to place a security camera as well.
Make It Streamlined and Effective
For BOPIL to be an effective shopping and delivery strategy and avoid putting pressure on logistics, then an online booking platform is a ‘must’:
- Orders are processed more accurately;
- It improves internal communication and transparency;
- It automates communication with the customer;
- It sends real-time notifications about their order.
Choosing an Automated Storage Locker Manufacturer
If you want to contract a company to install click and collect lockers for you, these are a few of the options available in Australia:
- My Parcel Locker – they have a “touchless collection feature”, meaning that it’s enough to scan the QR code you received for the locker door to open;
- Parcel Locker – it’s mostly aimed at individual users, but it offers commercial services, too;
- Lockers – they offer different-sized cabinets;
- Hussmann – you can find lockers that ensure different temperature settings.
Note: We are not affiliated with any of them. This list is meant as a starting point for your research.
You Provide the Lockers, SocialQ Provides the Software
In this article, we have covered the essentials for setting up an efficient and streamlined BOPIL (buy online, pick up in locker) shopping and delivery method. Moreover, based on studies and current trends, we have made some suggestions regarding the benefits and downsides of BOPIL, which we hope will come in handy for any retail business manager.
If you’re thinking about implementing a BOPIL strategy at your shop, SocialQ can provide you with the booking software solutions that accompany it. We invite you to get in touch with us to learn more about our services.