We need to be smart about convenience

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Written by
Arno Van Ruymbeke

Business Development Manager – Panasonic Connect Europe

We need to be smart about convenience

We all enjoy the convenience of online shopping and fast delivery but society has to begin to get smart about the commercial and environmental implications. Smartlockers are the answer, says Arno Van Ruymbeke, BENELUX Business Development Manager at Panasonic Connect.

Convenience is the new megatrend in Retail. As consumers we have become used to being able to get anything at anytime at the tap of our tablet or smartphone. You want take-away food delivered to your door? No problem. You want to order new clothes online and be able to try them on the very next day? Sure.

But all this convenience does come at a price and as a society we are just beginning to wake up to the increased environmental costs of rapidly increasing last mile deliveries, as well as the commercial pressures of door-to-door deliveries. In fact, many towns and cities across Europe are establishing Ecozones to ban or discourage trucks, vans and cars in populated areas.

One great partial solution has been the emergence of collection lockers at our public transport hubs, in the high streets and at our local supermarkets. They are ideal for conveniently collecting our parcels as we go about our daily lives. But until now, their use has been limited. They are not really suitable for storing your fresh milk, meat, fruit and vegetables on a warm day or keeping your takeaway meal hot but all that is about to change.

A new generation of Smartlocker from Panasonic is changing the world of last mile deliveries. This latest modular designed system of 6, 8, 10 or 12 door units offers a range of four different temperature lockers. There is the regular ambient locker for everyday items such as parcels; chilled and freezer lockers for food and even medicinal items; and heated lockers to keep takeaway orders at the correct temperature.

In Asia and Australia, it is already becoming the norm to order your groceries online and swing by the local supermarket or convenience store to collect them from the smartlockers in the car park as you pass. With the temperature controlled smartlockers there are no worries about items going bad in the extreme summer temperatures.

Soon, you will be able to order your takeaway food and collect it from a heated locker on the way home or that day’s meal kit ingredients from your chilled smartlocker. It doesn’t matter if you are running late, your food will not spoil.

For the users it means a fast, secure and contactless delivery solution, allowing goods to be collected and returned easily, efficiently and flexibly. With 24/7 access and indoor and outdoor versions, the Panasonic Smartlocker allows customers to collect and return items at a time and location that suits them.

Using Panasonic Vacuumed Insulated Panel (VIP) technology, which maintains the ideal temperature in the locker using less energy and CO2 emissions, customers can also be certain that hot, chilled or frozen foods will be kept safely in a temperature-controlled area. For operators, Smartlocker saves time, resources and operational expense. It lowers delivery costs with fewer drop-offs, vehicles and routes required, while at the same time decreasing traffic congestion and carbon emissions. Smartlocker automation cuts the risk of human error. With GDPR-compliant monitoring capabilities and data encryption, operators can verify access to lockers, including pick-up and drop-off times. The Smartlockers are also easy to manage. They can be used as a standalone system or easily be connected to ecommerce and order management systems via the cloud.

With society becoming time poor, there is no doubt that we will continue to crave convenience. But with this new locker technology, at least we can be smart about the way that we deliver from both a commercial and environmental perspective.

Discover Smartlocker at Top Logistics in Lille, France.

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