Are the public bothered about parcel lockers?

21st Jul 2014

You may have seen them hidden behind the loos at your local train station, or in the eaves of a nearby shopping mall car park in the centre of town.

Parcel collection points are slowly seeping into an array of disused public spaces, as ecommerce providers try to find a more efficient method of delivering goods to their customers.

Amazon has been betting big on their success for a while – it started placing Lockers in central London locations as far back as 2011, but the service has only truly proliferated over the last 12 months as the pressure on delivery times was ramped up by various big businesses. Asda has already placed click-and-collect services in underground car parks, while it has been reported for some months that parcel collection points will replace recently closed tube station ticket offices.

Despite this, it appears the public haven’t taken to lockers and click-and-collect in the manner ecommerce providers might have expected. According to a survey from Venda, almost three quarters (73%) of the UK public have never used what they define as ‘an alternative delivery method’.

Reasons for not doing so currently range from not actually knowing such a service exists (25%) to not being aware of where the nearest pick-up point is (38%), while only one in five (19%) said they would like to use an alternative delivery service in the future.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, however. For the 27% of people that have used alternative delivery methods to receive goods, 62% said they would use it again, with 48% saying they thought the services were fast and convenient. Only 6% said they would “never want to use it again”.

Time is seemingly of the essence for online retailers. Only last month, eBay’s Head of Engineering, Sam Philips stated that Amazon was “an existential threat to physical commerce”, and that the only way online retailers could compete was by cutting current delivery times from days down to minutes.

Venda’s research seems to echo this statement from a consumer perspective; 39% of those surveyed said they would be willing to pay a higher fee if delivery were quicker. 76% said they would even be willing to use click-and-collect services regularly if meant cutting delivery time down from two to three days to same-day.

“Given that speed and convenience of delivery is a prevalent concern for online shoppers, it’s not surprising that many are keen to try out these new services that promise to be faster and easier,” says Eric Abensur, Group CEO, Venda.

“It’s thanks to the rise of the ‘I want it now’ consumers that pureplay eCommerce brands and multi-channel high street retailers alike face a continued challenge over just how to get their goods into shoppers’ hands quickly and efficiently. Fulfilment is something that all retailers with an online presence should put at the head of their eCommerce strategy, as without a fast and efficient way to get purchases into consumers’ hands, they could end up losing revenue.”    

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