For some people, especially individuals who work 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, being at home to receive a parcel delivery is simply not an option. Most couriers are well aware of this and try to make alternative arrangements when the recipient is unavailable, such as leaving consignments in a safe location next to the property, or with a neighbour. Other people choose to have parcels delivered to their place of work, but this is not always possible, or even desirable.
Another option which is becoming increasingly popular is the drop box or locker system. This involves a courier picking up a consignment from the sender as usual, but then rather than delivering it to a private address specified by the recipient, the package will be sent to a secure bank of lockers. The recipient will then be notified when their package has been delivered, usually by text message, and given a pin number which they’ll be able to use to open the locker and get access to their parcel.
The idea behind the system is that the recipient does not need to worry about being at a certain location at a certain time, and instead can get on with their day and then collect the parcel at their convenience. With lockers starting to appear in more and more towns and cities, the popularity of drop boxes is set to increase rapidly over the coming months and years.
In Ireland, courier firm Nightline launched its first ‘parcel motels’ in the middle of 2012, with banks of lockers located across the city of Dublin, as well as further afield in Waterford and Cork. The main target market is consumers purchasing goods over the internet who want the convenience of being able to pick-up their goods from a location that suits them at a time that suits them. It is being sold as a new way for people to manage their parcel deliveries with the minimum amount of fuss or hassle.
There are of course drawbacks to this type of system compared to a traditional parcel delivery service. One thing users need to be aware of is the size restriction on the lockers, making sure that the goods they’re ordering over the internet will actually fit into the drop box. Another consideration is additional charges if the customer is not able to make it to the locker to collect their package as planned. While the goods inside will remain safe and secure, the user will have to pay extra if their consignment remains in storage for a number of days.
But while there are things consumers need to consider before selecting a service, there’s no doubt that parcel lockers will suit some people. Thanks to the popularity of shopping over the internet it does not look like the level of demand for fast and efficient parcel shipping is going to diminish anytime soon. Parcel delivery companies are changing with the times and it would seem likely that as locker banks in public places and inside private premises such as supermarkets and shopping centres become more prevalent, members of the public will come to view such as service as a natural progression.
Guest post contributed by Lauren Jones, an avid user of Parcel2Go.