Why Smart Lockers are Becoming a Cornerstone of Business, Retail, and University Life

Why Smart Lockers are Becoming a Cornerstone of Business, Retail, and University Life

Why Smart Lockers are Becoming a Cornerstone of Business, Retail, and University Life

by Matt Tarpey

 

There’s no question that the world looks very different today than it did just one year ago. Even as the Covid-19 vaccines begin to be rolled out and the pandemic subsides, public health, safety, and sanitation will remain near the top of many people’s minds for years to come. In order to adapt to the shifting landscape of customer and employee expectations, businesses have adopted new solutions focused on flexibility and adaptability.

One such solution is digital smart lockers like Exela’s Intelligent Lockers. With unique access options and software integration, Intelligent Lockers are ideally suited not only to promote pandemic-related safety guidelines like social distancing and contactless delivery, but also streamline processes, deliver greater convenience, and provide insight and accountability tracking across a wide range of use cases. Intelligent Lockers can also enable a more streamlined and complete corporate mailroom operation, making the transfer from mailroom to end recipient more convenient, cost effective, secure, and timely.

Here are a few of the fields that could benefit the most from Intelligent Lockers.

RETAIL BUSINESSES

Retail businesses have a number of exciting opportunities to implement smart locker technology into their consumer-facing processes. One of the quickest and most impactful, especially amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, is buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) implementations. With a bank of Intelligent Lockers installed at their retail location, businesses can easily fulfill contactless BOPIS orders. Shoppers can select their items and check out online. Onsite team members can then collect the necessary items and deposit them in an Intelligent Locker. Once their items are ready for pickup, the customer gets an alert, and can access their items either with an access code sent in the email or using their smartphone app to unlock their specific locker. Locker banks can be placed inside at the front of the store, near customer service for easy access, or even outdoors, allowing customers to pick up their orders after hours. 

Shipping has also become an even more critical element of the retail landscape thanks to Covid-19. At the same time, the pandemic has significantly complicated last mile delivery - the last step of the package’s journey to the hands of the end user. A network of Intelligent Lockers where shippers and retailers could drop off batches of deliveries for customers to retrieve could significantly simplify carrier routes and reduce the number of trucks on the road. This could also reduce failed deliveries, which are a major contributor to high logistics costs.

CORPORATE OFFICES

Even businesses that don’t necessarily deal directly with shoppers are finding innovative ways to implement Intelligent Lockers. They can also be used to facilitate convenient and secure day storage for onsite employees. Another popular use is streamlining delivery of physical mail and packages to employees. Not only are smart lockers accessible 24/7 – making pickup much more convenient for employees – they also facilitate an entirely contactless handoff, ideal for organizations concerned with sanitization and worker safety. 

Of course, mail isn’t the only thing that needs to be handed off between employees. For example, some businesses reserve an entire bank of Intelligent Lockers specifically for their IT department. This provides a secure contactless option for employees to check out IT equipment or drop off and pick up laptops in need of repairs or upgrades. As a bonus, Exela’s Intelligent Lockers can be fitted with power banks so that stored technology can charge during transfers.

Another less obvious effect of the Covid-19 pandemic may be a higher degree of flexibility regarding remote working. With less certainty over who will be in the office and when, Intelligent Lockers provide a convenient option for employees to handoff important documents or exchange other items without leaving them unsecured on their desks overnight. With automated tracking of who accessed each locker and when, you can be sure items reach the intended recipient.

COLLEGES & UNIVERSITIES

There’s been a lot of concern and controversy over the reopening of schools throughout the pandemic, which means colleges and universities should take extreme care to implement extra safety measures before fully reopening campuses. Intelligent Lockers are a great option to not only address some safety and sanitation concerns by facilitating contactless delivery, but also provide a new level of convenience for students

Students aren’t known for keeping the most regular hours. Packages are often held at the mailroom, and can only be picked up during certain times of the day. Students often find it difficult to fit package pickup into their busy schedules. A great benefit of smart lockers is that they are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be unlocked using a smartphone, campus badge fitted with RFID, or the built-in console. This allows universities to extend pickup hours without adding new staff to work low-traffic hours. Lockers also provide commuting students, faculty, and staff with a convenient and secure day storage location where they can drop their things off. All of these benefits make smart lockers a top choice for colleges and universities.

 

Intelligent Lockers are a versatile solution to help businesses and consumers alike solve new challenges and interact with more convenience. Check out how Intelligent Lockers are already making Last Mile delivery more efficient.

Learn more about Exela’s Intelligent Lockers.