Photo: Wikipedia /Adam Malan, 2013.
E-commerce has been an important driving force in the retail sector and one aspect concerns the growth of parcel deliveries to residential addresses. A challenge is that the majority of homes and apartment buildings are not well adapted to parcel deliveries. They often lack the space or a secure drop off location. Further, many households are away from home during regular business hours, resulting in missed deliveries. To cope with these problems, the online retailer Amazon is starting to set its own delivery lockers at strategic and highly accessible urban locations, such as convenience stores. This improves the performance of urban deliveries with less missed deliveries and allow consignees to pick their parcels at a convenient time (such as when coming back from work). Most locker deliveries are set when a consumer purchases goods online and is offered the opportunity to use a locker delivery, often at a lower shipping costs. The consumer then receives a pickup code (or bar code to be scanned by the locker) through email or text messaging that is inputted at the locker bank. This code unlocks a locker door containing the parcel. If the parcel is not picked up within a certain amount of time (usually 3 days), it is returned to the distribution center. Amazon is also developing similar systems for large apartment buildings since the growth of home deliveries has increased the number of parcels such buildings are handling each day. Such initiatives are also taking place in other parts of the world, such as Europe.