While the catastrophic days of the Covid-19 pandemic might be nearing an end, many safety practices and systems developed and enforced during its peak time are here to stay for the foreseeable future.
After all, some of these systems played a key role in helping us resume and carry on with our pre-pandemic lifestyle routines that severely came to a halt after the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease.
One such practice is about the adoption of contactless locker systems during the Covid-19 pandemic era to ensure the safe transfer of goods and other merchandise from source to its destination without involving any or at least minimum physical interaction.
This development of secure locker systems with contactless functioning has greatly helped in achieving key safety protocols such as social distancing and unnecessary person-to-person interaction.
In this article, we briefly discuss some important aspects of contactless locker solutions, how it works, and their extensive potential benefits.
What are contactless locker solutions?
Contactless locker solutions, as the name suggests, is a newly designed transfer of goods and merchandise mechanism with a comprehensive adherence to the social distancing safety protocol introduced after the Covid-19 outbreak.
By using contactless locker solutions in the form of contactless locker systems and secure locker systems, both the employees as well as the customers involved in any retail transaction remain protected from unnecessary person-to-person interaction while ensuring complete transfer of goods from source to the intended destination.
How does it work?
The working mechanism of contactless locker systems and secure locker solutions is designed to facilitate both aspects of any transaction.
This means that either it is delivering goods to a customer, or the customer wants to return any purchased item to the seller, secure locker systems with their contactless locker solutions support both sides of the transaction.
Here is a brief account of how contactless locker solutions work in each case.
Using contactless locker systems to deliver goods to customers
Consider the example of BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick up In-Store) for this purpose.
- Customers order and pay for their goods online through e-commerce enabled websites or other platforms of a physical store.
- Store’s personnel collect the goods from the inventory, pack them, and finalize the order.
- Once done, they place each order in a separately assigned locker box situated inside or outside of their store premises or any other nearby third-party smart locker or digital locker system facility.
- Upon being assigned a locker and the goods being placed in them, customers receive an automatic notification through a smartphone app, text message, email, or phone call.
- This notification contains details and a scannable code such as a barcode or a QR code for parcel retrieval from the digital locker facility.
- Now it is upon the customer to pick their order from the digital locker system at any time of their convenience.
Using contactless locker solutions to receive customer returns
- A customer, for some reason, intends to return the goods bought.
- A return complaint or application through an email, online form, phone call, text message, or even a smartphone app is submitted to the store.
- The store confirms the details of the return complaint and assigns a locker box at any nearby digital locker facility.
- Once done, the customer is notified through an email with all the necessary details of the digital locker system operating as a collection unit for returned goods.
- The customer can now visit this smart locker facility for depositing the goods they intend to return.
- Since this facility operates in a contactless manner, the customer will only have to scan the code he/she has been provided with in an email and the pre-assigned locker box will automatically open.
- The customer deposits the items upon which the store is notified about a returned item awaiting pick up.
- Once the item is picked up by the store, the digital locker system updates itself on the availability of an empty locker box at that digital locker facility which can again be assigned to another customer for this or any other purpose.
What are the potential benefits of a contactless locker system?
Contactless locker systems provide great benefits to both retailers and customers in the following manner –
- By being contactless and eliminating the need for any unnecessary person-to-person interaction, the Covid-19 safety protocols of social distancing remain intact.
- Physical stores do not have to deal with long queues of customers waiting for their turn at the cash counter.
- Since orders are placed and paid for online, many processes are streamlined automatically. For example, no confirmation calls need to be made to the customers for things like unavailability of goods or requesting payments. Likewise, customers also do not need to inquire about the status of their orders. They are automatically notified through a smartphone app notification, text message, email, or a call.
- By using online shopping methods such as BOPIS, customers do not have to worry about their delivered goods being stolen by porch thieves or follow any time constraints for picking up goods during any designated hours of the day. Customers can pick up their orders safely and securely in a contactless manner at any convenient time of the day.