If the sight of a long checkout line is enough to make you pull a U-turn and head to a new restaurant or store, then you aren’t alone.

In fact, 73 percent of customers said waiting in the checkout line is their least favorite aspect of their shopping experience. Fortunately, your business now has the tools to serve your customers quickly and accurately, keeping them (and your bottom line) happy. One of the fastest-growing options is the use of smart lockers.

So what is a smart locker system, and what can implementing one do for your operations and customer experience?

What You Need to Know About Smart Lockers

Smart lockers are an electronic storage and distribution solution with built-in technology that automates the purchase, notification, and retrieval processes.

To use a smart locker, a customer places an order with a kiosk, computer, or mobile device. The order is immediately communicated with a business' POS and inventory system and assigned to a locker. The customer is notified via text or email through the locker's software when the order is ready. Then, the customer can use a unique PIN or QR code to open the corresponding locker door and retrieve the order.

You may be familiar with smart lockers for package pick-up in high-traffic areas. However, their use is growing in other applications, including retail, hospitality, education, and quick-service restaurants. A study from Forrester revealed that retail and e-commerce businesses are looking at smart lockers as a key component of the future of package delivery due to their improved security.

The study also reveals that the average American household receives a package every three days. As online shopping becomes more ubiquitous, deliveries will increase as well. Although having a package dropped off on the porch is convenient, leaving deliveries out in the open can result in delays if a shipper believes the location is too insecure and decides to attempt delivery another day.

Smart lockers can eliminate that concern for both buyers and sellers. Click-and-collect locations create security because of the unique PIN or QR code that unlocks the locker. At the same time, sellers reduce the cost of delivery and avoid lost orders.

The Operational Benefits of Smart Lockers

Smart lockers offer customers more self-service and contact-free payment and service options, including off-hours or other retail locations. Customers can place an order, skip the line, and pick up their items using their device to facilitate the process.

Using smart lockers frees staff to assist with more complicated customer service needs, which is invaluable in a tight labor market. By reducing the administrative tasks associated with traditional asset management, you can move employees to service areas that require more attention. 

Integrating smart lockers into your business intelligence system can also help you understand customer preferences and shopping patterns. Every time the door of a smart locker opens and closes, the unit gathers the information you can use to improve business operations and customer flow. You can make better, more informed decisions with customized reports that include how often individual customers use the lockers, what they’re buying, and how long items are stored before they’re retrieved. 

Smart lockers are also great for safe storage at parks, recreation areas, amusement parks, or malls.

Secure Your Customers’ Orders

From custom orders to secure storage, smart lockers are the perfect blend of efficiency and security for businesses looking to give their customers the shopping experience they expect in today’s digital age.

Smart lockers also help you run your business more efficiently. You can staff areas that require more personalized customer service because employees are freed from manual tasks typically associated with asset management. Moreover, custom reports supply a wealth of data such as customer traffic patterns, popular products, and overall demand.

Whether you’re just beginning your research into smart lockers or you’re ready to get started, the team at Burroughs has deep industry experience and vendor partnerships to help your team deploy smart lockers to get bang for your investment buck. Plus, you'll have peace of mind knowing that you and your fleet are backed by full lifecycle management support, industry-leading response times, and a digital-first resolution focus across North America.

Are you interested in staying on top of the latest retail and self-service solutions to keep your business on the cutting edge? Subscribe to the Burroughs blog.