You might have seen Australia Post parcel lockers popping up in your area, or perhaps some of the bright orange coloured lockers in large shopping centres in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane that have recently been changed to blue – have you wondered what they are all about? They’re the future of deliveries, and in a world where online shopping just continues to boom you can really start to see why.
I started writing this story 18 months ago, in April 2014 after a couple of meetings with Mark Bouris. Well known for being the Aussie host of Celebrity Apprentice and for shaking up the Mortgage industry in Australia with Wizard Home Loans, he’s now got his fingers in a whole stack of pies. Not least his new financial services company Yellow Brick Road, but perhaps the most exciting one is one you’ve probably never heard of – TZ.
At the core of what TZ do is an amazing new locking technology, one I couldn’t take photos of, but that basically revolutionises the lock. Doesn’t seem that amazing, but without going into all the details – the ability for a locking mechanism to be made smaller, remote and electronically controlled and connected is a huge thing.
It’s uses in data centres worldwide let alone in the Parcel lockers we’re staring to see pop up is a game-changer.
Mr Bouris had to get his lockers into the Aussie market to make a difference, and show Australia Post that they didn’t have a monopoly on this space. So he did. And the A.D.A.M. lockers were built and rolled out.
18 months ago when I wanted to tell this story it lacked a big-name player in the delivery market – it needed a big name to push it forward and to challenge Australia Post. We’ve got that now.
The battle for our online delivery address is really hotting up, with the established and nationally recognised Australia Post being challenged now by the likes of Couriers Please who have just purchased the A.D.A.M. locker network from TZ and plan to roll out possibly 400 more locations in the next twelve months.
This has happened as a result of Singapore Post purchasing Couriers Please. Singapore Post are one of the most profitable postal organisations in the world, and were recently awarded the world’s leader in e-commerce solutions. So, not a bad parent company for Aussie courier company Couriers Please.
No longer is it ok just to leave your address on an order and hope you’ll be home to receive it. Parcel and courier tracking is now so advanced that with the tracking number you get at purchase you can see online when an item leaves a warehouse, gets to an airport, is put on a truck and all sorts of things in between. The problem with that amazing tracking is that if you’re not home when the truck pulls up – the parcel goes back to the warehouse waiting for you to call and re-arrange delivery.
Mark Bouris summed up our feelings himself in his latest podcast – “Australians f%@king hate being carded”. “Carded” refers to that common situation where your parcel comes, you aren’t home and a card is left for you – and it’s then up to you to arrange pickup or re-delivery.
Enter the Parcel Locker. These have been seen by many as the solution to the global online shopping craze. But are they?
Australia Post takes two different and quite logical approaches. Firstly, if you register online – you can get your very own “address” at a locker site that you choose. Basically this is like signing up to a postbox in the old days, but without the crazy fees and charges. You take that address, put it on an online order – hey presto – it should be delivered.
Secondly, if you’re shopping at an affiliated online retailer, you might get the option to choose an Australia Post locker site near you to have it delivered to.
The POPStation approach (That’s the Singapore Post and Couriers Please name for the Parcel Lockers) almost mirrors the second from Australia Post. If an online retailer lists POPStation as a delivery option – you can choose a location near you and have the item delivered.
When the parcel is delivered, because these lockers scan the parcel on delivery (by Post or Courier) and send you a notification that it’s ready to pickup – 24/7 the access is available.
Couriers Please have a second option which is in direct competition with Australia Post – allowing parcels to be dropped at a “Hubbed” location, which for the most part are Newsagents – your local shop – open 6am-8pm 7 Days per week. When you combine both Hubbed and POPStations it’s a compelling offer and one that should mean less days waiting for a parcel if you can’t always be home for the delivery.
In Singapore already 50% of people buying on the web deliver to a locker – that’s just two years after the lockers were introduced.
And this is just the start. When you create a high-tech locker like this, it’s more than just a parcel and a lock.
These kinds of systems could be used for large offices for internal parcels and mail, or even personal lockers. There’s the possibility individuals could use them for person-to-person deliveries, so again not needing to wait or arrange to see someone, you could just leave something at a “PopStation” and they get a notification something is there to pickup.
Because the lockers are fully “connected” both the sender and recipient can get real-time notifications of any activity. It’s a pretty cool bit of tech! All thanks to this innovative little lock from TZ.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.