Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Good things

Retired USPS employee Marty Schill with Wayne Tuttle.

 

Investing for the future is a solid component of a comprehensive retirement plan. Former USPS employee Marty Schill saw the wisdom of preparing for a post-working life, and routinely invested his money in avenues that provided future growth opportunity. One long forgotten element of that strategy recently came to light when he received an unexpected call from Wayne Tuttle.

Tuttle is a custodian at the Sherwood Station in Topeka, KS. He was in the process of removing lockers recently when he encountered a piece of paper on the top shelf of one of the removed lockers. The item was a U.S. Savings Bond issued in 1983 with Schill’s name on it. Tuttle found Schill’s contact information and called him to let him know he had found something he’d be interested in.

Schill was grateful for the discovery and return of the bond. Originally purchased for $50, Schill took the bond to the bank and discovered that it had increased in value from the $100 face amount to $280.

“I thanked Wayne for being diligent in checking my locker and for bringing such a surprise to my house,” said Schill.

Packages on Demand

The Postal Service pioneered its own gopost parcel lockers beginning in 2012.

The Postal Service pioneered its own gopost parcel lockers beginning in 2012.

Recent advances in modern society have placed an increasing demand on an individual’s time. From social media, emails, and texting to individuals working multiple jobs and travelling greater distances to get to them, life in the digital age is not as packed with leisure time as might have been predicted decades ago. When time-sensitive activities seem to absorb more of an individual’s time with each passing year, making one’s self available for package delivery can be a challenge. That’s a particular problem a new company is looking to solve.

Swapbox is a new startup in San Francisco, CA, that offers parcel locker service inside monitored, indoor locations. To have a package delivered to a Swapbox, an individual uses the address of a Swapbox location as the destination address. When a package arrives, the recipient is sent a PIN code to unlock the unit. The company charges $1.99 to retrieve a parcel stored in one of its lockers, though there are flat rates available through its silver and gold plans for those who sign up for monthly service.

Individuals can also send items from a Swapbox locker – without packaging if they so choose. Basic shipping options for the service start at $1.99. This could be a tempting option for those who prefer to avoid packing an item.

Swapbox isn’t the only company venturing into the parcel locker service, however, and the field continues to widen as the popularity and availability of such service increases. If demand continues to strengthen over time, parcel lockers could yet prove to be as well-received and profitable as they are in many other countries around the world.

Parcel Lockers Open for Business in Seattle

Seattle Letter Carrier Berhane Solomon scans a parcel destined for an Amazon.com locker.

Seattle Letter Carrier Berhane Solomon scans a parcel destined for an Amazon.com locker.

Online retailer Amazon.com has launched a pilot program for parcel pickup at 12 sites throughout the Seattle, WA, area. One of the key’s to Amazon’s success in this venture is its strong partnership with the Postal Service.

When Amazon.com customers choose a secured locker site for delivery of their purchases rather than a home or place of business, their parcels are sent to the postal delivery unit nearest the locker of choice. Packages are then delivered to the appropriate locker location and scanned by the carrier via an access terminal in the front of the unit. The locker system accepts the delivery and a door on an appropriately sized locker unit opens automatically for the carrier to place the item inside.

A customer can retrieve the package from a locker by scanning the number or barcode received online. Upon receipt of the code, the corresponding locker door automatically opens, giving a customer access to the parcel.

The new system is designed to enhance both the convenience and speed by which Amazon customers receive their packages.

Locked In

The Postal Service pioneered its own gopost parcel lockers beginning in 2012.

The Postal Service pioneered its own gopost parcel lockers beginning in 2012.

The state-owned postal services in Brazil and Spain are the latest to introduce automated parcel lockers to improve customer convenience. Customers can designate the lockers as collection points when making online purchases.

The lockers are expected to boost e-commerce activity in two ways; by allowing consumers to receive deliveries without having to be at home during the day, and by offering extended operating hours.

In Brazil, customers receive access codes via email or text message allowing them to open the secure lockers; in Spain, they receive a barcode for the same purpose.

E-commerce consumers in Spain will be able to collect their purchases 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Brazil also will offer extended hours.

A number of countries offer — or are testing — parcel lockers, including Australia, the United Kingdom, France, China and others. The U.S. Postal Service pioneered its own gopost parcel lockers beginning in 2012. Since then they have been piloted in locations within the New York City and Washington, DC, metro areas.

Lockers Aren’t Just for Gym Shoes Anymore

Lockers arent just for gym shoes

Many people can recall when lockers were used almost exclusively to store gym clothes, shoes, school books, and other odds and ends. With a new plan recently introduced by a major retailer, lockers will service an alternative purpose.

Wal-Mart is joining the parcel locker revolution with the introduction of a dozen prototype lockers this summer. Customers will be able order products at Wal-Mart’s website and have the items delivered to a designated parcel locker location for pickup. The shopper will receive a message when their item arrives and a locker code to access it.  Lockers will be accessible 24/7 and will retain the item for up to two weeks.

The locker system is designed to compete in the arena of on-demand package pick-up services which is continuing to experience growing interest. Wal-Mart’s greatest competitor, Amazon.com, established its own parcel locker system in 2011. The Postal Service also realized the potential of parcel locker services and entered the arena with its gopost service.

Do you think parcel locker services are likely to be a significant avenue of growth opportunity in the future?

Parcel Partners

Have you ever heard the phrase, “the whole is worth more than the sum of its parts?” This is particularly true for businesses that have a prominent name supported by a strong reputation. What happens when two of these businesses collaborate on a project? Would that increase their value even more? This is what businesses are hoping for when they partner with Amazon.com to install parcel lockers in their stores.

Amazon.com is looking to install more parcel lockers in select locations across the nation. It offers the shipping option to customers who purchase smaller items as a convenient selling point in doing business with the Internet-based retail giant. Many businesses such as convenience stores, drugstores and grocery stores are welcoming the additional chance at increasing revenue as well as foot traffic into their businesses.

USPS has added its own version of parcel lockers, called gopost, in limited test locations to increase shipping convenience for its customers. Gopost offers three different locker sizes to accommodate different package dimensions and allows customers to pick up packages at a time more convenient for them.

Businesses that have a bank of parcel lockers at or near their location have the potential to enjoy increased sales from the additional foot traffic in the area. Establishing other partnerships in the mailing industry could be an effective way for two businesses to generate more revenue by working together than either business could make alone.

What other businesses do you think USPS could partner with to expand its revenue?

  • Hello, I'm Benny the Blogger: I'm the world's most famous postal employee. My hobbies are snappy quotes, kite flying and publishing. I was born Jan. 17, 1706, but don't call me old.

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