Package Accessibility: Meeting Consumer Needs Safely and Effectively

We all recognize the challenges COVID-19 has created in meeting consumer needs, from restricted customer interaction to social distancing and sanitizing surfaces. But it’s also provided an opportunity for smart managers to create a significant competitive advantage by installing smart, automated lockers.

Throughout the retail, higher education, multifamily, and commercial sectors, leveraging technology to deal with astronomical increases in parcel deliveries bolsters safety, satisfaction, and accessibility. Let’s look at each of these four markets below.

Retail Market: Harnessing the Power of Lockers for In-Store Order Pick Up

Smart lockers are a win-win for customers and retailers. Retailers are able to offer fast, same-day pick up at their stores while also controlling the customer journey and  experience from end-to-end. Customers are able to retrieve their online orders easily and safely with zero human interaction.

A barcode is issued via email or text to online buyers. The code is then scanned on a smartphone at a participating retail location, allowing contactless order retrieval in as fast as 90 seconds. No waiting in line and no wasted time. If the retailer is open 24/7 or has outdoor lockers, package accessibility is even more convenient for customers.

Let’s not forget that the “Buy Online, Pick-up In-Store” model is exploding for retailers. A recent study by McKinsey & Company found that 60% of U.S. consumers said that they will continue to use this hybrid shopping service even after the pandemic subsides1!

Lowe’s, which recently selected Parcel Pending as its automated locker partner for 1,700 of its stores, sums up a key benefit of delivering purchases to customers this way. According to Joe McFarland, Vice President of Stores: “This is a significant step in our relentless efforts to create a fast and frictionless shopping experience for today’s time-pressed customers.”2

There is no doubt that this service model is here to stay, given its ability to seamlessly deliver excellent customer service by reducing customer complaints, increasing customer satisfaction and attracting potential customers

Higher Education Market: Getting an A+ for Promoting Social Distancing and Easy Parcel Retrieval

The college and university market faces different challenges than the retail sector. Whereas retailers are working to cement brand loyalty, improve the customer experience, and ease the burden on their supply chain, facilities managers are struggling with surging parcel numbers threatening to overtake their mail sorting and service centers. As students and staff return and potentially retreat from campus, a surplus of packages add work to an already overburdened staff. Yet, the adoption of automated, smart lockers streamlines package retrieval, accessibility, and safety.

As parcels are sorted, coded, and delivered to a secure electronic locker, students are notified by email or text that a package has been delivered to the smart locker. Retrieval is easy and safe. Students simply scan the barcode for safe, contactless delivery. Another key benefit is that reminders are sent automatically to students that time is running out to pick up their parcel. Of course, complete visibility into where your packages are at all times is available via WTS (Web Tracking System) or existing university mail tracking systems.

This self-service model of package pick-up reduces your labor interaction by a whopping 30% but also boosts student satisfaction and accessibility. They can pick up their package on their schedule, ending the days of waiting in line or standing too close to their neighbor. In short, smart lockers promote social distancing while granting accessible parcel retrieval.

Multifamily Market: Managing Surging Parcel Delivery with Ease

Retailers are seeing a huge uptick in online shopping as consumers remain wary of in-person shopping. And, with the upcoming holiday season, total US online sales are expected to rise 35% which would result in the delivery of almost 486 packages per week to multifamily residences3!

Switching to smart, automated lockers not only manages this deluge but also improves customer satisfaction and provides easy, safe parcel retrieval. In fact, studies show that installing a smart parcel locker system can raise lease renewals by 40%.

As sensational porch pirate videos go viral, residents can find comfort in a self-service amenity that securely holds their packages until they can retrieve them on their time. No more waiting in line, no more interrupting property staff, no more unsafe social distancing practices.

Lockers embrace all safety protocols, as residents can pick up parcels without interacting with delivery company drivers, property staff, or even other residents. The smart parcel locker system sends recipients a unique access code and a barcode to their smartphone, allowing for easy and safe package pickup without ever touching a keypad. In as little as 10 seconds, residents have picked up their package and are on their way!

Commercial Market: Locking in Safety & Efficiency

Perhaps no labor shift has been more dramatic than the work-from-home phenomenon. With 42% of Americans working from home, commercial managers are juggling the onslaught of packages delivered to the office even if key persons are primarily not on premises4!

Smart lockers remove many operational tasks, saving facility workers a staggering 24 hours per week. The manually intensive tasks of alerting employees, tracking down packages, or verifying parcel delivery are eliminated.

With Parcel Pending’s carrier-agnostic system, packages are placed in secure lockers without interaction by mailroom or building employees. Recipients are automatically alerted that they have a parcel pending. Most importantly, workers can come to the office knowing they have a package they can retrieve themselves and they don’t have to interrupt staff, potentially violating new corporate safety protocols or unsafely “checking in” to see if their parcel has arrived. 

A delivery system like this is especially crucial given increased consumer demand during the holiday season, as well as for meeting expectations around COVID. Smart lockers at offices not only promotes social distancing but also prevents any human interaction. It allows for easy, safe, and accessible package pick up.

Across all sectors — retail, higher education, multifamily, and commercial — Parcel Pending offers tailored smart locker solutions to meet your needs. To start the conversation, please visit us here.


  1. Charm, Tamara, et al. McKinsey & Company. The great consumer shift: Ten charts that show how US shopping behavior is changing. (2020, August 4).
  2. Lowe’s. (2020, September 22). Lowe’s Leverages Innovative Technology to Launch Contactless Pickup Lockers Nationwide [Press Release]. Retrieved from:
  3. Herrera, Sebastian. The Wall Street Journal. Amazon’s Prime Day Accelerates Shift to Online Shopping. (2020, October 16).
  4. Wong, May. Stanford. Stanford research provides a snapshot of a new working-from-home-economy. (2020, June 29).,working%20on%20their%20business%20premises.