When a package embarks on its journey from the point of origin to the end customer, it is not travelling alone. It shares its shipment with several other packages destined for the same region. However, as the packages reach a hub local to the customer, the focus shifts more towards the individual packages. In essence, the courier now makes a special trip directly to the customer’s address. This final stretch between the local courier hub and the end-user is commonly known as the “last mile.”
This is where lockers come into play. They play a significant role in simplifying the last-mile delivery process, reducing both the typical distance travelled and the number of trips made when customers aren’t home. Their convenience is evident through a wide retrieval window and their close proximity to the customer’s home, eliminating the need for shoppers to wait at home or risk missing the courier if they step out.
That’s precisely the thinking behind Bob Group’s new pilot project, Bob Box. Bob Box is a secure package locker that allows shoppers to collect their items at a time and location that suits them best. Instead of organising your day around a delivery, you can carry on with your daily activities and retrieve your package at your convenience.
In the rapidly growing South African ecommerce market, these lockers are proving to be crucial in handling the increasing volume of parcels. By offering their own network of parcel lockers, Bob Group not only improves customer service levels but also solidifies its competitive position within the last-mile logistics market.
According to a report by Fortune Business Insights, the global smart parcel locker market is projected to reach USD 2.07 billion by 2030. The rise of ecommerce, one of the fastest-growing sectors worldwide, is fueling this growth. Andy Higgins, Managing Director at Bob Group, explains, “The decision to introduce Bob Box was the result of rigorous research, encompassing various international markets. We delved deep into the success of Poland, a prominent leader in the courier, express, and parcel services industry. Notably, international locker delivery companies like inPost have expanded rapidly, and have seen their locker network quadruple owing to the unparalleled convenience and benefits offered to buyers. We are seeing a similar level of demand for locker solutions in the local market, as discerning shoppers increasingly seek faster shipping and seamless parcel retrieval options. Emphasising our unwavering commitment to sustainability, Bob Box lockers perfectly align with Bob Group’s core values, making them an astute choice for our visionary ecommerce services.”
Although the pilot project currently has only 4 lockers, an expansion of the parcel locker network is anticipated. This expansion aims to make last-mile logistics more economically cost-efficient and environmentally sustainable through the use of the Bob Box parcel locker solution.
Proudly South African, designed to overcome power outages
As a proudly South African ecommerce company, Bob Group has ensured that Bob Box is designed to meet the particular challenges of doing business in Mzansi. The Bob Box lockers are inspired by international lockers, but are manufactured in South Africa.
Power outages have impacted every aspect of life here, but the Bob Box lockers have been designed to be virtually impervious to load shedding. The first lockers have a two-year battery, with work underway on developing a five-year version. The lockers only draw a small amount of power, and ‘go to sleep’ until they’re reactivated. In other words, they snooze until you arrive to collect your package, at which point they wake up again.
Robust security and smart convenience
Bob Box lockers are rugged enough to resist attempts at unauthorised access, so the items inside will stay safe until you come to collect them. This is especially important when customers are buying high-value items like laptops or smartphones.
As you’d expect from Bob Group, each Bob Box locker contains some smart tech. Delivery drivers can connect virtually when they arrive, and open the designated locker for each package. The technology involved means that a package can only be entered into the correct locker, so there’s no danger of items being misplaced.
For buyers, access is equally easy. All they need is the access pin that is SMS’d to them. They can simply enter this on the keypad, and take their item.
Infusing fun and convenience
Bob Group is known for bringing added personality to every aspect of buying and selling online. Their Bob Box lockers are no different – each one has a name, a playful nod to history and popular culture. From the first iconic duo of Adam and Eve, to the beloved Tom and Jerry, collecting a package is sure to bring a smile to your face.
Thanks to their in-the-box thinking, Bob Group has introduced yet another service innovation to the South African ecommerce space with the advent of their Bob Box pickup lockers. As the combination of locker and counter combinations are widely recognised, Bob Group plans to roll out counter solutions in future to further complement their commitment to providing convenient and seamless experiences for their customers.