Business Package Deliveries Can Be a Hassle, but Here's How to Fix It
When it comes to shipping, most businesses are concerned about outgoing packages -- making sure orders are packaged correctly, getting them out the door quickly, and making sure customers receive them in a timely manner.
But managing incoming package deliveries can be a hassle for many companies that don't have a dedicated receiving department. Here we look at some of the problems businesses face with receiving packages in an efficient, safe and secure manner, along with some of the current solutions.
One of the biggest worries for proprietors is getting deliveries when they are not around as they can quickly get lost, stolen or damaged. This is more of a problem than ever given the onslaught of products flooding the delivery stream, which means shipping companies are dropping boxes at doors from dawn to dusk just to keep up with the demand.
Because someone has to be there to receive or send out deliveries, there always has to be a plan in place. This could manifest itself in paying an employee to wait around for hours doing nothing until they just hand off or grab some boxes and then leave. To save the cash, a business owner could also do the waiting themselves, but while this might keep a couple extra bucks in your pocket it will cost you in lost time with family, friends or just relaxing.
There is a way to avoid the waiting game. Well, sort of. Instead of waiting in person you can do it virtually. This entails staring at your device -- computer, iPad or phone -- checking track information until the device says your package is out for delivery. Of course, out for delivery can mean a 12-hour window so there’s still a lot of waiting left to do.
Or another option is waiting for a notice that it has been delivered but in the window of getting the notice and getting to the business is enough time for it to be stolen or ruined by inclement weather.
The only thing more important than having stuff to sell is having people to sell it to. The customer/retailer relationship is a special one and the last thing any business owner wants is to be interrupted when they are dealing with a customer, even if it is for a much-needed influx of inventory or to send out a slew of packages. Plus, when the store is busy there just isn’t time to sign in or out boxes, especially if it’s done on the floor when customers are shopping or meeting with employees.
Having laid out the issues with business package deliveries and pickups, it’s time to outline some of the ways to deal with them.
Instead of having a package delivered to your home or business address, you can have it delivered to an Amazon Hub, a network of pickup locations that feature parcel lockers. Available in over 900 cities across America, you can pick the location of the closest Hub to you as your shipping address and collect your package after you’ve been notified it has arrived. Access to these self-service depends on the hours of operation of the business where the hub is housed so if it is in a grocery store that closes at 9 pm that’s also when the Hub closes.
These Hubs feature return centers as well, but can’t handle the general shipping needs of most businesses. When your package arrives at the assigned locker, a delivery confirmation email is sent with instructions on how to pick up the package at the Locker. The email includes the address and opening times for the locker.One drawback is the time it can take to get to and from the Hub to get your packages. There’s also a policy that packages must be picked up within three days of notification of delivery or the package will be returned and a refund will be issued.
UPS has its own locker service they call the Access Point network that’s made up of UPS Stores, local retailers and self-service lockers. At each of these locations you can drop off and/or pick up packages in a contactless manner.
These unstaffed locations allow customers to do their shipping and receiving 24/7. A government-issued photo ID is required to originate and tender a shipment to any retail shipping location unless the business already has a UPS account. That’s something to take into account as is the fact that this service requires employees or business-owners to leave their place of business to pick up their deliveries or ship out parcels.
The U.S. Postal Service’s new gopost® option is another self-service parcel locker system that gives customers access to 24-hour parcel lockers. Choosing this delivery option means your incoming deliveries will be deposited in a locked location. This is done in a contactless manner so the transaction is safe and secure for all parties involved.
For outgoing mailings, this service also allows customers to ship out packages at their convenience. Additional bonuses with this option include security cameras, touch screen operations, and mailing receipts.
Again, the problem with this choice is its location. Gopost® centers are found in hub locations such as “near certain Post Offices™, grocery stores, pharmacies, transportation hubs, shopping centers and more.” This means traveling to get packages, which is an inconvenience we’ve already discussed.
Plus, gopost® is still in its infancy that is only available in very limited select areas meaning as of right now it is not a viable option for most of the country.
The Lockable Package Box
Self service locker options present some laudable benefits, including the safety of your items under lock and key. There’s also some ancillary benefits if the locker is run by your shipping partner so that you can use the service for dual purposes.
But these options don't deliver true convenience, unless your business happens to be next to a hub location or is in a building with the lockers. Without this lucky logistical break, you’ll be lugging parcels back and forth from the lockers to your business till you feel like everyday is Christmas and you are Santa’s sled.
Almost all these issues can be solved with a lockable package delivery box. These lock boxes have grown in popularity in the residential sector in recent years with the rise of home delivery and the subsequent increase in package theft.
But secure package receptacles also can provide advantages that go beyond just helping homeowners keep porch pirates at bay. Unlike locker services, these boxes can be placed right at a place of business to take the pain of traveling to get your deliveries out of your daily routine.
Instead, your delivery person can simply place parcels into the box next to your door or at the rear of your building and lock the box when they leave. The leader in this space, the DeliverySafe has a reprogrammable lock so that owners can control who has access to the box and its contents. The DeliverySafe also comes with the hardware to secure to the ground so that not only can your package no longer walk away but neither will your lock box.
Just as easy as it is to put deliveries into the box, it is also a convenient spot to place out-going packages whether they are for a customer or a shipping partner to pick up. The importance of this contactless option cannot be ignored considering that in early 2020 only 6.6% of the top 1,000 retail offered curbside pickup and now 51% of these businesses offer it.
Food pickup, whether for customers to get their meal directly from restaurants or via a delivery service like DoorDash or Uber Eats, has also increased, which is another reason the DeliverySafe, which is insulated and has slide-in spots for ice packs, is an industry leader when it comes to lockable package delivery boxes as there are many ways it can be big advantage to small businesses.
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