While parcel locker systems and smart lockers have become a popular option for many different types of businesses, do they actually provide a great benefit or is the hype overblown? Although we offer a range of different types of lockers, we would never press anyone to purchase one kind or another - we pride ourselves on consultative selling so that our customers make the proper choice for themselves and their businesses.
We do believe that smart locker systems and parcel lockers offer a ton of benefits over traditional lock and key systems - but we would be remiss to say that they are perfect. Every product comes with benefits and disadvantages, and we seek to help our clients understand these so that they can make a more informed purchase.
Today let’s discuss the pros and cons of smart lockers and parcel locker systems. Just because businesses are investing heavily into these systems doesn’t necessarily mean you to as well - but consider the below information.
Smart lockers and parcel locker systems offer more convenience to your customers and they also free up time for your employees. When you provide a higher level of service to customers, and your employees are empowered to perform dollar-producing activities, your revenue is going to increase. Even outside of retail, the ease and convenience of keyless entry locker systems will boost productivity, thereby boosting your sales and revenue.
No More Losing Keys:
While keys aren’t expensive to replace when lost, it’s an inconvenience that eats up time and negatively impacts productivity. If, over time, you manage to lose enough keys, there will be a financial impact. Keys do offer a solid measure of security, but it is inevitable over time that they will be lost or misplaced. With a smart locker, all you need is a phone, app, or code. If you do lose access, you can easily get it back when you need it, at no cost.
Flexibility for All:
Parcel lockers allow pickup and delivery at any time, day or night, even on holidays. Beyond the ability to drop off or pick up at any time, it allows extensive flexibility for users - as most parcel locker systems will hold an item for up to a week before it is placed elsewhere or sent back. Parcel lockers also provide flexibility for offices and company mailrooms in the sense that packages don’t need to be guarded or kept behind a desk until pickup. For businesses, flexibility is offered to employees in the form of hoteling or hot desking, allowing an office environment where belongings can be stored in many places over the course of a day, allowing a more dynamic employee experience. Lastly, some parcel lockers offer the ability to heat or cool themselves
While traditional locks offer a good measure of security, it’s very difficult to break into or hack a smart locker system. Not only would it require a lot of time and skill, but most parcel locker systems come with built-in defenses to deter intrusions like hacking. Some smart lockers allow for video surveillance and other deterrents like alarms, or other options to contact emergency services. Another helpful measure that comes with smart lockers is the reporting capability, allowing a manager to see who used the locker and when. Some lockers even have the ability to detect contraband such as weapons, useful in school and office settings.
Reporting and Analytics Reports:
With traditional lockers it can be difficult to know who used the locker and when. With smart parcel lockers, a log can be kept to document what item went into the parcel, who dropped it off, who picked it up, and for how long it was stored. This is important data for retailers or those managing mail rooms. With traditional lockers, there’s no easy way to gather this type of data. Smart lockers can tell you about usage, customer experience, and more. In a data-driven world, it’s important to know how your parcel locker systems are being used in order to offer your customers the best experience
Ease of Use:
Customers consistently report positive feedback with smart lockers and parcel locker systems. They’re convenient and intuitive to use. There’s no worry about forgetting a locker code - usually, the access code comes from a fingerprint, an app on your phone, or a pin that is emailed or texted. With the ease of access and the convenience to pick up or drop off at any time, it’s no wonder that consumers and property managers enjoy the ease that comes along with smart lockers.
Dependence on Technology:
While most consumers do enjoy technology, some people still prefer traditional locks and the simplicity of traditional lockers. There’s nothing wrong with vintage steel gym or hallway lockers. They’re extremely durable and cost-efficient, and they do offer exactly what most consumers need. Smart lockers usually need both a power source and access to the internet in order to function. When the power goes out, a parcel locker system will not function correctly. Traditional lockers need no power or internet, just a key or the right combination. Smart lockers come with a bit of a learning curve - you may need to download an app, make an account with a system, and generally be able to operate a smartphone. For some people, this is an inconvenience. We understand that technology does not always solve problems, and smart lockers simply don’t work for everyone.
Possibility of Hacking:
While chances are slim, there is the possibility that your smart locker system could be hacked. This would allow someone to unlock and potentially steal your products being stored, or it would allow a person to permanently lock your units until payment or another form of ransom has been sent. While rare, it is not unheard of for this to occur. Most smart locker systems do offer the proper security to defend from attacks, so before agreeing to a certain system, be sure to ask questions about security and how your system will be protected, and if there is a dedicated IT team in place when breaches occur.
DeBourgh’s traditional steel lockers have been known to last decades with little to no maintenance aside from repainting and cleaning. Smart locker systems are different in the fact that there are far more components in place, raising the risk of a malfunction or defective part. Not only does basic mechanical maintenance need to be performed regularly, but the software that allows users to access parcels must be updated when necessary. Because of the mechanical and technological sides that smart lockers need to function, there’s simply a greater risk of something breaking. Before purchasing, be sure to ask questions about maintenance and the time and costs most other companies have had to put in.
Issues with Couriers:
While the adoption of smart lockers improves efficiency for all users, there can be times when a courier or someone at pickup becomes confused and improperly places an item. Whether the item is left outside of the parcel system or incorrectly placed within a parcel locker, these issues do occur. The only true remedy is to ensure proper communication between courier services and management staff. If a UPS, Amazon, or USPS worker is unsure how or where to leave a package, they will likely just set it near a reception desk. Proper education on how a parcel locker works is important, even for busy delivery drivers.
Parcel locker systems have many benefits and some disadvantages. We’re not here to tell you that they’re the perfect solution for your business, because we know and understand that everyone has unique needs. If we don’t believe a parcel locker system will benefit your business, we will recommend any number of our other quality products.
Whether you need a smart locker or a traditional steel locker, DeBourgh can provide solutions for your business. Contact us today to learn more!