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Growth of Lockers for Delivery

It’s been a busy summer for shopper lockers with Amazon launching its Hub apartment delivery lockers, enabling residents to access packages from a range of senders and Home Depot has been installing lockers in many of its locations so customers who place online orders can easily pick up their items at the store. In addition, Walmart is installing what it calls “pickup towers.” The 16-foot orange towers, which can hold about 300 items, offer a video screen where online purchasers swipe the order confirmation bar code from their phones, and a conveyor belt then delivers their merchandise to them.

For the restaurant industry, Apex launched its self-serve, automated pick-up station for food. The Apex Hot-Holding Device is basically a double-sided food locker that lets operators load hot food at one end then alert the customer, who gets a unique pickup code so they won’t accidentally swipe someone else’s order. Apex co-developed this breakthrough technology with Little Caesars, the third largest pizza chain in the world.

So, what do all these lockers mean for the shopping experience? Evidence that shopper lockers and similar pickup options lead to shorter trips exists in the breakdown of micro-trips at Whole Foods. Micro-visits at stores with Amazon Lockers rose by 11%, per InMarket. At stores in the same cities without lockers, such trips rose by 7%.

Food for thought -  34% of shoppers who use click-and-collect shopping features (order online, pick up in-store) buy more than intended, according to research by WSL Strategic Retail. More important: 89% of those who use it are satisfied with the experience, largely because of the convenience.

What’s the market? Right now, about 40% of U.S. shoppers use click-and-collect for groceries, according to Nielsen research, and the figure is expected to increase as the service becomes more available. Nielsen and the Food Marketing Institute estimate that Americans’ total online grocery spending will reach $100 billion between 2021 and 2023.

How will the locker trend continue to affect the restaurant industry? Will we see it stick with pizza pick up orders and other hot foods like wings, etc. Or will this trend continue to grow as the online ordering market continues its growth track?

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