The future reimagined

Locker Talk: Could Nation-wide Locker Networks Evolve Into Platforms?

Fresh Solutions

Picture a world where you may never have to wait around for a package to be delivered to you, but where your packages will always be waiting for you. How wonderful would that be, right? Well, Posti is actually working on making this a reality. But how and where will it go in the future? Read on to find out!

We have all waited around the house for our packages to be delivered to us, but what if our packages waited for us instead? Even better, what if the packages waited for us in a spot where it would be most convenient to pick them up, say, our local supermarket or office building? That would be great! Indeed, in addition to being great, it is also possible, at least with Posti’s parcel lockers

So what is a parcel locker? To put it simply, it is a locker that comes in different sizes and where your online shopping and other packages can be delivered to. But that’s not all there is to it. Posti’s parcel lockers always come in groups of many lockers at a time and can be found basically anywhere; shopping centers, shops, kiosks and even your own apartment building! The operating logic is pretty straightforward in that when you have a package coming your way, it gets delivered to a parcel locker near your home or office – or wherever most convenient. Once your package is delivered to the locker, you can go pick it up with a specific personal locker code. In other words, now you finally have the power to get your packages when and where is easiest for you. 

Sounds great, but what does this mean for businesses?

Parcel lockers are not just convenient for consumers and make lives easier, they are an interesting way to ‘set up shop’ where consumers move, work and live. Joonas Panttila who works as a Business Manager at Posti knows a thing or two – well, actually dozens of things – about parcel lockers and how to get business benefits out of them. “The main point of our locker network is to get closer to consumers and to offer a great customer experience by getting goods into consumers’ hands when and where is most convenient for them. According to our online shopping study consumers prefer picking up their packages from our parcel lockers over any other way of delivering goods to consumers”, Panttila illustrates the need for the novel delivery system. 

As for business benefits, there are plenty: “My job at Posti is to design concepts that work well with our customers’ needs. For example, we are expanding our lockers to work with existing retail Click & Collect -services that at least some of the biggest ecommerce players offer. The way it works is that consumers can order products online, choose to pick them up at a locker by the store but can skip the queues and do not necessarily need to go by the store’s opening hours. On the other hand, this approach frees up resources among the retail staff since they just need to drop the ordered products by the locker once, and they’re done,” Panttila explains.

Another interesting approach to making the best out of Posti’s extensive parcel locker network can be found from the ‘consumer-to-consumer’ space where Posti can offer so-called local lockers for consumers to facilitate easier 2nd hand sales and delivery as well as handing off products to loan from person to person. “One of our partners [Finland’s largest online 2nd hand platform] surveyed Finnish customers and found that 76% of Finns predict that they will buy more used goods in a few years’ time. To help with this trend we have created a concept for ‘nearby lockers’ that help consumers do business together and to take part in the big circular economy trend,” Panttila explains.

No more a network, not yet a platform

So what lies in store for Posti’s parcel lockers in the future? Currently, the evolution has gone from just having the concept of putting lots of lockers basically anywhere consumers are, to actually building a nation-wide network of parcel lockers in Finland. The network is pretty much a reality, but it seems that the parcel locker system could grow into something even bigger.

“I really feel that we should start to utilize APIs (application programming interfaces) that could enable a huge jump in the variety of commercial concepts we could try out with our locker network. Startups, partners and other stakeholders could help us to think of new and even surprising ways of how to make the best possible use of our locker network,” Panttila describes the future visions of how Posti’s parcel lockers could eventually evolve into a platform that could offer many different and novel use cases. “One trend we are seeing is the rise of startups related to circular economy. For example, startups may want to start a rental businesses and use our locker space for storage. Then the consumers can just see where they can pick up the item they rented for a bit, and return it to our lockers when they’re done,” Panttila adds.

Currently the trend is on the up and up for Posti’s parcel lockers. Ecommerce is growing rapidly in Finland and so is the popularity and demand for the locker network. Parcel lockers are popular, because they offer consumers ease in their everyday lives to have packages delivered to where the consumers are, not necessarily what they say their home or office addresses are. So at least for the lockers, the future seems quite bright and booming. 

Would you like to work on big picture projects such as turning Posti’s parcel lockers into a never-before-seen platform? If so, you would probably enjoy working at Posti! Check out our open positions here and start planning your Next move.

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