How to Choose the Right “Smart” Locker Solution to Reduce Operational Costs and Improve the Student and Campus Employee Experience
Online packages and deliveries for students have become a major pain point for colleges and universities nationwide. Back in the day, campus mail services were originally designed for the majority of their volume (70 percent) to be mail and the remaining 30 percent to be packages.
Today, with the boom in online shopping this ratio has flipped. In fact, for every college student, approximately 31 packages are delivered to them on-campus each year. And there’s no signs of this trend slowing down. In fact, this rate is expected to grow by more than 13% annually.
As a result, campus mail services – which often lack space to begin with – are now overflowing with student packages on a daily basis.
That is why many colleges and universities are looking to invest in electronic lockers to solve their package problems. However, researching and identifying the best electronic locker system can seem like a daunting task. There is a lot of misinformation and marketing jargon out there and most college and university mail centers simply don’t have the time to sift through it all to make an informed decision.
Below, we will discuss what colleges and universities should look for in a smart parcel locker solution in order to quickly identify the best partner for their package management needs when students and staff return to campus:
Safety & Security
When it comes to smart lockers, one of the very first questions you want to ask a supplier is how exactly their lockers keep student and faculty packages safe and secure. For example, do they offer cameras? Do they offer theft proof steel lockers for durability? Do their smart lockers help to eliminate stolen packages and missed deliveries by electronically logging each delivery time and pick-up time? Is full chain-of-custody tracking provided to reduce package liability and theft issues?
For example, with Parcel Pending by Quadient’s university lockers, package recipients don’t need to worry about package theft, misplacement, or damage. Each package is safely and securely placed into a Parcel Pending locker by mail staff or directly by the carrier, who require special access to do so. Students and staff are then notified immediately when their package is delivered, and it stays safe and secure in the parcel locker until they are ready to retrieve it.
Reduce Operational Costs
In addition to safety and security, you will also want to inquire about how a supplier’s electronic lockers will reduce your operational costs. After all, you will be making an investment into their technology so you will want to understand what your return will be. Consider asking about the step-by-step process of how their lockers will work for your mail services staff and students. Also, ask specifics about how much time you can expect your mail service staff to save by using their lockers. You also will want to ask for customer testimonials, references or case studies to gain a better understanding of your potential ROI.
Most importantly, electronic lockers should make it quick, easy and convenient for students to retrieve their packages 24/7 at their convenience. Students, along with their family and friends who send them packages, should be able to rest assured that their packages and online orders will be delivered and remain safe and secure in the locker until they are retrieved. Likewise, university mail services should no longer need to worry about students rushing to the mail services before it closes to retrieve their packages. This helps to provide a premium experience for students while reducing staff time.
For example, Parcel Pending by Quadient’s university electronic locker system helps to significantly reduce the amount of labor and time required to manage and deliver packages. In fact, Parcel Pending by Quadient’s locker solution can reduce package management labor resources by as much as a third by assuming all of the customer service responsibilities for mail and package delivery, notification and retrieval. And, up to 80 percent of packages can be delivered directly to Parcel Pending’s lockers freeing up staffers to focus on other tasks.
Another key feature to inquire about is customization. After all, you’ll want your lockers to mirror your college or university’s brand image. Make sure to ask any electronic locker supplier if their lockers are customizable in color and design so that you can match the lockers to your school colors, mascot or campus setting. Along the same lines, you’ll want to confirm that their lockers can meet any indoor or outdoor space requirements and/or package size. Most premium smart locker companies will offer a wide selection of locker sizes to accommodate packages of all sizes.
Access to Analytics
Having a safe, secure smart locker is great but you also will want to make sure that your supplier can easily integrate with your mail tracking systems and offer analytics so that you can understand how your lockers are being used. For example, with Parcel Pending’s university solutions, colleges and universities have access to robust analytics and dashboards that provide instantaneous summaries that show how their lockers are being used, when stale packages need to be removed, and track locker turnover and capacity. All of this information is useful in order for you to provide a seamless package management experience to your students and faculty.
Finally, when looking for the right electronic locker supplier, don’t forget to go with a trusted brand that has high end-user ratings and satisfaction. This is again a good place to ask for customer testimonials, references and case studies so you can confirm the locker supplier is a credible, trustworthy partner for your college or university.
For example, 98 percent of Parcel Pending’s users rated their experience with their lockers as “very satisfied.” One of Parcel Pending’s main competitive differentiators is its customer service support. Parcel Pending offers professional installation and maintenance along with local service staff who are on call 24/7 to provide support and answer questions.
Parcel Pending by Quadient’s smart lockers optimize the campus mail services center. For staff, it saves them hundreds of hours of possessing time, thus reducing stress. For students, tech-enabled lockers streamline the pickup process and remove the worry that the package might be lost, damaged, or stolen.
Key features of Parcel Pending’s university lockers include:
- Smart: Built-in intelligence and integration, real-time analytics and reporting
- Secure: Total package security reduces the risk of stolen goods or mis-deliveries
- Accessible: Multi-sized lockers accept most package sizes; ADA compliance supports any user
- Trackable: Fully-automated log, 100% chain of custody visibility of all deliveries and pickups
- Mobile Friendly: Users receive instant delivery notifications via text or email
- Convenient, Contact-Free Pick-Up: 24/7 self-service package access, no signature required
- Customizable: Custom colors and wraps to match school colors, mascots or campus settings
- Efficient: Streamlines delivery process; flexible solutions reduce space needed to accept deliveries
In summary, there are a number of features and factors to consider when researching and selecting an electronic locker supplier for your package management needs. Some of the key features to pay attention to include safety, analytics reporting, customer service and customization. Let us help you learn more about smart locker solutions for your college or university. Contact us today.