The benefits of smart storage lockers and click and collect for retailers


Click and collect is a solid tactic to increase retail potential. But is your business offering the best experience it could be for these valuable online customers? Smart storage lockers can help you create a seamless journey from digital to in-store. 

 

It is clear any reluctance towards online shopping in the UK has dissipated as click and collect and home delivery sales continue to rise. Indeed, the UK click and collect market is now forecast to reach £9.6bn in 2022 according to GlobalData.

But what do savvy customers expect from their in-store, click and collect experience? Certainly a better solution than queuing at a busy customer service desk or tracking down a retail assistant somewhere in-store.

Smart storage lockers are an efficient way to ensure the customer receives their goods in-store, on time and on their terms. Implemented well, they can also become a platform to improve interaction with your customers, increase sales and strengthen brand loyalty.

Challenging retail conditions have only accelerated the trend for creating a contactless and self-service experience, retailers and other organisations must stay competitive to survive. Ricoh Smart Lockers could be the answer for businesses ready to rewrite the rules of the consumer environment.

A seamless customer experience with click and collect

Situated in-store, smart storage lockers offer a flexible fulfilment opportunity. They allow customers to cut queues with a clean conscience and pick up their purchases with no fuss.

Powered by cloud technology, the smart locker is integrated with digital technology to support an efficient and easy buying journey. This includes the capability for customers to use keyless entry codes for collection, delivery and collection notifications to provide clear communication all without involvement from a store assistant.

From a health and safety aspect, this means very few people need to come into face-to-face contact. It also cuts the costs on extra resources required to cater for new click and collect demand. 

For the retailer, all management of the backend system can be undertaken remotely at a head office location. Furthermore, the locker can be programmed with existing digital infrastructure, granting access to all data relating to the customer, order details and collection process. It is even possible to link this in with stock levels and ordering systems to automate the back office.

Reconnect with your customers 

A positive customer experience is not just defined by the nuts and bolts of the buying journey. It has to do with creating a feeling it creates. Within a retail environment, the use of click and collect storage lockers can strike an instant chord with your customer by communicating your brand and the values associated with it. 

A storage locker unit can be finished in a bespoke design to support your brand identity.  It can also be built in a configuration that suits the particular space available and customised to contain extra functions.

With customers back in your store, this could be the perfect opportunity to keep them there, strengthening brand loyalty and add-on sales at the same time. 

How click and collect can revive your presence 

With town centres and shopping centres continuing to evolve, delivery lockers can be placed where retail brands no longer have a presence. Importantly, they’re suitable for indoor and outdoor settings. For customers who prefer a traditional outing to the shops, this can keep your business in the consumer psyche. Staying relevant should be part of any business strategy as the market becomes increasingly more diverse and widely accessible.

The units are also entirely safe and secure. This means goods can be delivered safely and 24/7 collections facilitated providing complete flexibility for the customer. Smart storage lockers also provide an alternative delivery location rather than a home address.

Providing a further layer of security, drop-off lockers can also be fitted with bespoke technology like scales to measure the weight of what’s been delivered. This ensures the retailer can track the location of goods and reconciled the service provided to the customer.

A solution for eCommerce only retailers

While online sales are at an all-time high, not all eCommerce newcomers had the infrastructure in place to deliver a world-class customer experience when demand reached its peak. Direct to consumer brands have stood out from the crowd by offering custom packaging, but automated shipping and fulfilment should be the next target. Smart storage lockers pose this opportunity – Amazon has already quickly capitalised on self-service kiosks.

This is also true for couriers who want to streamline the process for managing missed deliveries. When goods cannot be delivered to a customer home many have already explored the use of smart storage locker technology. Yet many are still lagging behind where the competition is already making huge gains.

Find out more about smart lockers for click and collect

Smart Storage Lockers are certainly worth exploring. Whether you are a retailer ready to innovate or a direct brand looking to amp up your delivery experience. 

It is unlikely the industry will ever return to the ‘normal’ commonly referred to. We are much more likely to reemerge into high streets, shopping centres, and towns adapted to our new habits. Now is the moment to start thinking about how you can add that additional value to customers to keep them by your side, no matter what the future holds. 

Click here to learn more about smart lockers, how they work and their potential applications.

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Robert Rodger
Robert Rodger
robert.rodger@ricoh.co.uk

Sales Director, Managed Services and Resourcing Services, at Ricoh UK

Read all articles by Robert Rodger