Not many people know about parcel lockers, and when the topic arises, the first question that comes to their mind is “What is a parcel locker?”
A parcel locker is a new type of delivery method. Instead of delivering large parcels directly to your home and leaving them in the driveway, the delivery person will leave your parcels in the parcel locker.
The parcel lockers are more secure than the traditional method of parcel deliveries. Parcel lockers are located in cluster boxes.
Whenever a package is shipped, it may be sent to your parcel locker if you have a cluster box.
Read on if you want to learn more about what is a parcel locker, cluster boxes, and different service providers that work with parcel lockers.
What Is A Parcel Locker
In simple terms, parcel lockers are large containers secured by electronic or manual locks where the courier will leave your parcel. Parcel lockers are usually located inside a cluster box unit.
Each major shipping company now prefers the method of delivering your parcel to a locker instead of leaving it at your doorstep, especially with USPS, as it is now installing parcel lockers everywhere.
Parcel lockers are locked by default, and to open them, the mail carrier will put a key in your mailbox.
You can open the parcel locker with the key provided but keep in mind that once opened, your parcel locker will remain open, and you will not be able to retrieve the key.
The mail carrier has the main key, which they get from the property owner or property management staff. When they come back to collect mail, they will lock the parcel lockers themselves and retrieve your old key from the locker.
You can be sure that your online purchases will safely stay in a secure location until you retrieve them.
Parcel lockers also give a competitive edge to postal and courier services using them compared to the ones still relying on the old method.
Electronic parcel lockers offer the same security as a bank vault, with the added benefit of being located in convenient locations such as major malls and post offices.
In most cases, parcel lockers are located inside residential apartments, post offices, community mailbox, condo buildings, and shopping malls. You can also get a personal parcel locker installed at your home from various sellers, but few people need one.
When you live in a residential apartment with other tenants, you have a shared mailbox with them. This type of mailbox system is usually referred to as a cluster box, and there are parcel lockers inside them.
In other cases, whenever you place an order on some website where your parcel is delivered to a parcel locker, you will be notified of the location of the smart package locker.
These are a good solution for convenient package delivery and a good delivery experience as they eliminate the need for multiple delivery attempts.
Electronic Parcel Locker
Electronic parcel lockers work exactly like manual parcel lockers, except they work digitally and can’t be opened by a locksmith. They do wonders for a good customer experience.
Electronic lockers are used by different business owners, reputable companies, and postal carriers.
Many post offices and shopping malls are now installing electronic parcel lockers in their vicinity.
More and more people are moving towards online shopping for all sorts of goods such as clothing, electronics, and groceries.
There are some difficulties delivering the products in the hands of the customer because not everybody is available at home all the time, and parcel carriers may not be able to deliver in a particular area.
This is how electronic parcel lockers or automatic lockers were introduced and are now being used by the USPS as well as other major carriers such as FedEx as well to meet and satisfy the customer’s needs.
Electronic parcel lockers are an efficient way for secure, contactless, and private parcel deliveries. Customers can rest easy about their parcels being in a safe location instead of worrying about reaching home early to collect their parcel lying on the doorstep.
Electronic parcel lockers are greatly customizable; they can either accept PIN codes or even scan options.
How Do Parcel Lockers Work?
There are two steps involved when it comes to the process of how parcel lockers work.
Both electronic and traditional parcel lockers work pretty much the same, but there are some differences which we will point out.
Delivery Of The Parcel
When your courier or USPS delivery driver arrives at your location, they will put your parcel in the parcel locker at your place.
USPS or other courier services get the key to the locker from property managers if you live in an apartment.
If your parcel locker is owned by USPS, then they already have a key don’t need to look for it through property managers or other people. This is the case with outdoor parcel lockers.
Do note that the parcel locker doesn’t absolutely have to be at your place; it can be located near a bank, in some grocery store, or even a supermarket if that’s what you chose as the destination.
If the parcel locker is at your apartment or residential building, they get the key to the locker from the managers of the apartment. The incoming packages will be stored in the correct parcel locker.
Notification And Collection
In the next step of the parcel locker services, you will receive a notification that your parcel was delivered.
If you choose the manual and traditional parcel locker delivery method, you will receive a parcel locker key in your mailbox with a number on it that will tell you which individual parcel locker has your parcel.
You can open the parcel locker with this key and retrieve your parcel. Do note that individual lockers require different keys, and you can only open your parcel locker.
The key will remain in the keyhole of the parcel locker, and only a USPS employee (if that was your courier) or the courier person can retrieve the key themselves.
On the other hand, if your delivery was made to an electronic parcel locker, you’ll receive a text message, access card, or an email with an access code.
You can open the electronic locker with a PIN code or an access card and retrieve your parcel.
This smart locker solution takes care of most of the risks involved with parcel retrieving.
Benefits Of Parcel Lockers
There are many benefits of having your parcel delivered to a parcel locker. In order to understand the benefits of the parcel locker, let’s first look at the method that doesn’t use them.
In the traditional parcel mailing system, your parcel is left at your home. Many thefts arise because couriers leave your parcels in your driveway or at your doorstep.
We, once had our parcel delivered to our home, the mail person left it on our porch.
These can be really troublesome to deal with as we are not always available to pick our parcels at home.
With parcel lockers, you don’t have to worry about security that much as you know that your parcel is safe in a locked container.
The parcel locker location is usually in a well-lit and busy location, so you always feel safe securing and retrieving your parcel.
If your apartment or community doesn’t have one, the delivery will be made to the closest parcel locker. You’ll receive a notification with the exact number of the parcel locker unit which contains your parcel.
They also allow for a centralized delivery process which saves a lot of time and money for the postal service providers as well.
Below are some of the main benefits of having a parcel locker.
Parcel Lockers Are Secure
There is no doubt that if you live in an apartment or residential complex with other tenants, that there is some security implemented.
A secure parcel locker eliminates most of the security concerns regarding parcel deliveries.
Even then, mail theft is becoming a major problem, and you cannot be sure that your parcel will stay at your apartment doorstep without someone stealing it.
This is where parcel lockers can play a major role in securing your parcels. They are being installed by USPS at every major location, and your apartment building should have one of its own.
With a parcel locker, you can be assured that your package will stay protected from theft until you pick it up.
Parcel lockers are installed in busy areas such as retail stores, grocery stores, and supermarkets.
They are also installed in apartment complexes by the management of the building. You can have a parcel locker installed at your home as well.
They are usually installed in a place where they are monitored by security surveillance, so there is no chance of someone just stealing them and walking away.
People also feel safe picking their parcels from lockers as they are usually in busier areas.
While a P.O box at some post office work similarly, the fact that these smart lockers have locks and are generally bigger makes them a safer option for mail recipients.
Even Amazon, the giant of e-commerce, is establishing its amazon lockers at every location it can.
Less Time For Delivery
Deliveries made to parcel lockers generally take less time and save a lot of money for both the mailing service provider and the business that installs them in their vicinity.
Your parcel will stay in the locker for a long time, and you can receive it whenever you want without having to worry about its safety.
Cons Of Parcel Lockers
Parcel lockers are becoming increasingly popular for online shopping, thanks to their convenience and ease of use.
With this growing popularity has also come an increase in parcel locker thefts.
Parcel locker thefts have increased over the past few years, with thieves targeting the lockers to steal packages and their contents.
This is because only valuable and large goods are stored in parcel lockers.
Still, parcel lockers are way more secure than leaving a parcel on your front garden or doorstep.
Parcel lockers are costly to install at your home if you don’t have a nearby parcel locker.
How Long Can A Parcel Remain In A Parcel Locker?
How long a parcel remains in a parcel locker depends on the type of courier you choose for your parcel. Generally, your parcel can remain in a locker for weeks and even months.
Once the period is up, the USPS mailing staff or other courier staff depending on your couriers, will retrieve your package and send it back to the mailing distribution center.
You’ll then have to pick it up yourself. Your parcel may also be flagged as lost or returned in such cases. Therefore, it is suggested that you don’t delay picking up your parcel and get it as soon as possible from the parcel locker.
Conclusion – What Is A Parcel Locker
What is a parcel locker? It is one of the best delivery options you can avail. Parcel lockers are secure containers usually in cluster boxes, where your parcels are delivered.
There are traditional and digital parcel lockers. With the traditional one, you require a key to open it, which you receive in your mail, and with the automatic one, you receive an access code in your mail or text messages.
Parcel lockers are a great way to secure your parcels instead of having them delivered to your driveway when you are at work and bear the risk of them being stolen.
The mail recipient can easily retrieve the parcel from the locker in a secure and safe manner.
Package recipients may have to go to a retail store or some supermarket to enjoy the key benefit of parcel lockers, which is safety.
Many shipping services now offer parcel lockers as a mode of delivery. Perishable items are not delivered to these lockers.