Catching up with category leader Home Depot that has had them for years, Lowe’s is rolling out lockers for ecommerce order pickup in the front of stores in the New York tri-state area, Philadelphia and Charlotte, NC, with plans to expand to all 1,729 U.S. stores by March 2021.
The lockers, from Parcel Pending, will be added to Lowe’s stores in Florida, Washington and Texas among other states in the coming weeks.
“Our number-one priority is making sure we are keeping things safe for our associates and customers while continuing to provide additional options to make it even easier to shop with us,” said Joe McFarland, Lowe’s executive vice president of stores in a release. “With more than 60% of online orders picked up in our stores, this gives our customers one more option and the added convenience and flexibility to control how and when they get that order.”
After ordering online from Lowe’s and choosing the locker pickup option, customers receive an email notification with a one-time user barcode when their order is ready, which is scanned at the locker.
According to a recent study by McKinsey & Company, 60% of U.S. consumers who are taking advantage of buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) plan to continue to do so after the pandemic subsides, in part driven by a desire for contactless transactions. And research from the International Council of Shopping Centers found 67% of consumers doing a BOPIS transaction make additional purchases in store.
Kate Reidel, SVP of Parcel Pending, said her company works closely with its retail customers to understand the entirety of their ecommerce strategy and approach, to help avoid disappointing shoppers who show up at a locker and find their item isn’t there. Inventory management tools are needed to provide the necessary real-time visibility across channels to avoid stockout scenarios.
“Our solution is intended for partners who have invested in BOPIS, and it does require infrastructure to support,” Reidel said. “Ultimately a suite of solutions needs to work in tandem for BOPIS to run efficiently, and certainly inventory is a critical piece. Lowe’s really understands and is committed to a full start-to-finish customer experience.”
The desire for more contactless commerce has certainly accelerated locker demand and adoption. Reidel said Parcel Pending experienced a 46% increase in app downloads between February and March, and an 86% increase in package volume in August 2020 vs. the prior year, 2.7 million in all. Its customers include owners of multifamily dwellings and college and universities in addition to retailers selling apparel, shoes and sporting goods she couldn’t name due to NDAs. Its lockers are primarily located in areas where the efficiencies of delivery density are greater, reducing carrier trips and truck dwell time.