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What is PUDO (Pick-Up, Drop-Off) and How Does it Work?

It’s time to add another acronym to your ever-growing retail vocabulary: PUDO Pick Up Drop Off. Joining the likes of BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick-Up In-Store) and BOPIL® (Buy Online, Pick-up in Locker), PUDO is another parcel delivery option that creates convenience for both retailers and consumers. In this blog, we’ll explore what it is and more importantly, how it works.

PUDO Defined

In its most simple terms, a PUDO point location is any area where consumers can pick up items or drop off returns, whether staffed or not. In reality, the term is most often used for smart lockers located in densely populated areas that are accessible to any consumer.

This distinction of lockers being open to all is significant, as most smart lockers are installed and owned by one party (such as a courier or a retailer). For example, retailers such as Lowe’s employ Parcel Pending by Quadient locker solutions, but only their shoppers have the convenience of retrieving or returning items with the lockers. A community-wide parcel locker network, on the other hand, is completely agnostic: accessible to any retailer, carrier, or consumer and often placed on public property (such as a parking lot or public transit hub) or within retail stores.

The Benefits of PUDO

There are myriad benefits specific to each target audience using these PUDO locker hubs. Retailers who install PUDO smart lockers within their stores report increased foot traffic and, more importantly, can see as much as 70% of customers go on to make incremental purchases1. Online retailers (or e-tailers) can earn customer loyalty by offering more delivery options and embracing the concept of personalized logistics. Carriers recognize that centralized drop off locations can boost efficiency while lowering noise pollution, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. Customers easily pickup or return items when doing errands with the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their e-commerce parcels are safe and secure.

In 2015, PUDO CEO Frank Coccia founded his company based upon the benefits of a courier agnostic system. “PUDO puts the consumer in control of their parcel, where and when they want it,” he said while describing his service. “There are no missed deliveries due to the consumer not being home or even worse, the individual is home and did not hear the knock or doorbell or simply did not get out of the shower on time.”

How Smart Lockers Work

After consumers complete a purchase with an online retailer and select a PUDO point, they are regularly updated on their item’s expected delivery date. Once their item is safely and securely placed in a locker, the customer receives a text or email alerting them of the delivery along with a PIN or barcode to effortlessly open the indoor parcel locker or outdoor locker with zero human interaction. It typically takes less than 10 seconds to open a locker. Lockers also support contact-free returns, a process that takes less than two minutes for a customer to complete.

The initial research into retailers using smart lockers for contactless parcel pick up is overwhelmingly positive. A Fortune 500 retailer who installed Parcel Pending’s smart locker solutions noted that 95.9% of customers said using the locker saved them time in picking up their order; 94.3% of customers said they are likely to use in-store pick-up with lockers again and 93.4% of customers rated their experience as “very satisfied.”

Parcel Locker Networks are Growing Globally

As the world recognizes both climate change and the explosive growth in online shopping, the demand for parcel locker hubs is booming. Quadient recently reached an agreement with DHL, the world’s leading logistics company, to roll out a significant number of smart parcel lockers to outdoor locations in the largest regions of Sweden. As Managing Director DHL E-Commerce Solutions, Jonas Lindell, explains: “The partnership with Quadient is completely in line with DHL’s strategy, offering greater flexibility for both customers and e-retailers. With a wider range of pick up and drop off lockers, we get closer to our customers and can in a simpler way be proactive in building up our delivery network.” DHL has created over 10,000 PUDO points across its home turf of Germany2.

Purolator, a leading freight, package, and logistics provider, also installed Parcel Pending by Quadient smart lockers in its busiest terminals to add convenience and flexibility for customers. During the busy 2021 holiday season, the smart lockers supported Purolator customers by harboring more than 12,000 shipments.

Considerations in Creating a PUDO Point

Artur Kikuła who was a major player behind installing 7000 access points in Poland highlights that building and implementing a high functioning drop-off point requires skillful planning, appropriate hardware and software analysis, optimal PUDO location analysis, and systems integration. “The hardest part is building enough stable access points to give proximity (within 12 minutes or 1km [0.6 miles] walk for the consignee) and the appropriate conditions for access to the point, such as customer car parking.”


The skyrocketing demand for PUDO is a perfect storm of consumer interest in convenience and personalized logistics, ongoing concern about Coronavirus mutations, increased costs of fuel for individual home delivery, and the need for a streamlined courier delivery process flow and efficient parcel returns.

Parcel Pending by Quadient’s smart locker solutions can help you solve these issues while also driving incremental sales. Interested in learning more? To speak to a Parcel Pending representative, contact us today using the form below.

Sources:

  1. Morgan, Ethan. “What is PUDO and What Does it Mean for Retailers, Shoppers, and Carriers?”. Doddle, November 14, 2019. https://www.doddle.com/us/blog/pudo/what-is-pudo-and-what-does-it-mean-for-retailers-shoppers-and-carriers/
  2. Kikuła, Artur & Różycki, Marek. “PUDO networks: a how-to guide”. Parcel and Postal Technology International, June 24, 2019. https://www.parcelandpostaltechnologyinternational.com/analysis/pudo-networks-a-how-to-guide.html

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