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E-commerce and the logistical dilemma: Q&A (Includes interview)

E-commerce is increasingly popular with consumers, but it creates logistical challenges in terms of transport, storage, delivery and control of merchandise. One solution is a digital locker system based on new technology. This solution can help to reduce the challenges of package management.

The company Package Concierge has been developing solutions in this space, with growth in areas where new housing developments are being opened and in colleges. Digital Journal discusses these issues with Penny Lasater, Senior Product Manager at Package Concierge.

Digital Journal: How big is e-commerce becoming?

Penny Lasater: eCommerce is big and getting bigger — both in terms of sales, as well as package volume. According to a report from the U.S. department of commerce, 2017 was the biggest year over year growth for eCommerce since 2011. Although no one can predict where the growth will top out, all indications are that eCommerce will continue to outpace the growth of the broader retail market.

DJ: Is this the best model for all businesses?

Lasater: Based on all the research, businesses with an omni-channel approach are the ones best poised for long-term success because those businesses are combining the best of what consumers love about eCommerce with what consumers love about shopping in-store. It’s a great time to be a consumer because we get the best of both worlds from many of today’s businesses.

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DJ: What challenges in terms of logistics does e-commerce present?

Lasater: For the omni-channel retailer, the challenge is aligning eCommerce with the brick and mortar systems into a single workflow. There’s a lot of work to do to upgrade legacy infrastructure. From a fulfillment perspective alone, billions of packages will travel the last mile to get into the consumers hands— if your systems aren’t aligned there’s a lot room to create a poor customer experience.

DJ: How about the impact on the delivery network?

Lasater: Last mile delivery fulfillment is a hot topic — increasing package volume combined with rising delivery expenses is a perfect storm for business disruption. Those factors, combined with a shift in the way we shop and our expectations related to getting what we want/when we want/where we want it, make this an exciting time for creative delivery solutions.

DJ: What solutions are there?

Lasater: There is a lot of activity in the last mile delivery space from the visionary, like drove delivery and autonomous delivery vehicles, to the practical like BOPIS (Buy online, pick-up in store) and crowd-sourced delivery.

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DJ: What is the Package Concierge solution?

Lasater: Package Concierge has multiple solutions to address the package management needs for a variety of markets. At the core is our automated locker system which seamlessly addresses the dynamic challenges associated increasing package volume in an ROI positive way while providing a superior user experience.

DJ: How does the technology work?

Lasater: From the retail perspective, the customer selects the popular buy online pick-up in store (BOPIS) delivery option during their eCommerce check-out. Leveraging the Package Concierge cloud-based integration with retailer systems, the store employee fulfills the order and places the order in the Package Concierge locker system. This triggers an email or text message to the customer letting them know their order is ready for pickup.

As a result, it decreases the tedious exercise of making a customer stand in line at a customer service desk, while also eliminating concern over porch pirates. The package is secure in the system and ready for pickup at the customer’s convenience. It takes just seconds for the store employee to load the locker and for the customer to pick up their order using the code they receive in the email/text communication.

DJ: Can you share any success stories?

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Lasater: With an NPS score of 86 we have a lot of success stories. As an Arlington, VA based property manager recently put it, “Package Concierge solved our package dilemma starting on the first day.”

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