Why Open Locker Networks are at the Heart of a United Approach to Parcel Services

There is a common consensus that parcel delivery needs to evolve. Once, it may have been as simple as a man, a van, and an address – with the only challenge around scaling operations to meet demand. But now carriers, retailers, and consumers alike are re-examining their priorities.

A 2023 survey showed that consumers feel parcel deliveries need to change. 47% believe outright that parcel services as they stand will get worse and more expensive. Safety, environmental, and criminal concerns were found to be paramount; 42% said the number of delivery vehicles in their neighbourhood was making it less pleasant and safe, 31% felt under pressure to have fewer parcels delivered for economic and environmental reasons, and 11% had a parcel stolen from their doorstep.

These issues also affect carriers, retailers and other businesses. They must ensure efficiency as the demand for parcels rises inexorably while meeting obligations to lower emissions and reduce traffic in built-up areas. And they need to prevent the £200m-worth of parcel thefts each year harming customer relationships and adding extra costs.

It’s clear something has to change. Click-and-collect services have their place, but they will never replace deliveries. 45% of consumers say existing click-and-collect services are too frustrating to use regularly, and there will always be those customers who simply can’t travel to the store.

This is why Parcel Pending by Quadient has invested in its Open Locker Network, working with carriers, retailers and host organisations to create a nationwide parcel locker infrastructure that allows for secure, convenient and most of all reliable delivery and collection from any location. Using an advanced cloud-based monitoring and tracking technology, Parcel Pending by Quadient offers modular and secure designs that can be placed in many locations, indoor or outdoor, in custom configurations, providing complete confidence that packages will not be damaged or stolen.

Recently, UPS became the fourth carrier partner to join Quadient’s Open Locker Network. Available in hundreds of locations across the country, and accessible to the largest UK delivery companies, Parcel Pending by Quadient’s network has exponentially expanded on the delivery options available to consumers.

All parties benefit from using such a network. Consumers no longer need to wait at home for a delivery, worry about theft, or travel to an out-of-the-way location at a specific time. Instead, they can arrange delivery to anywhere – such as a petrol station forecourt, a transport hub, a pub or public car park, or a big-box retailer – and can pick up their parcels 24/7. They also benefit from an environment where delivery drivers make fewer trips, and where lockers form part of local amenities – as 50% say they want.

Carriers, in turn, can operate more efficiently: making fewer stops at fewer locations, and having complete confidence that drivers have made a delivery and that customers have retrieved their items. According to estimates, consumers would replace on average 47 parcel deliveries a year with “trip chaining” – visiting parcel lockers as part of other journeys. This would save carriers 1.4 billion road-miles a year.

Finally, there are the retailers and other businesses hosting lockers. For vendors, the benefits of more reliable delivery and reduced theft are clear. But locker hosts, whether a train station, pub, or DIY store, also benefit from increased footfall and often increased spending. Consumers admit they would spend more at retailers that also hosted lockers, to the tune of £13.7 billion across the UK.

The Parcel Pending by Quadient Open Locker Network is part of the journey towards what we all want – more pleasant neighbourhoods, safer and more reliable delivery, and more opportunities to do business.