As urbanization and pollution have been and will be continuing concerns in large cities across the globe, retailers and other companies are looking for alternative opportunities to reduce emissions and implement innovative, cost-efficient, and environmentally friendly solutions. A large number of cities are limiting grocery stores' operating areas because of an abundance in certain areas, even though the demand for grocery stores favors growth. So what role is the grocery locker playing in that?
The topic of reduction of pollution is relevant across the globe, countries are becoming more and more regulatory in local environmental questions. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the total
emissions in Europe are overall in a decreasing trend. But despite the decrease, transportation is driving the emissions increase. Transport makes up almost 30% of total
emissions and is the second-largest emissions producer by sector.
During the 2019 pandemic, the popularity of home delivery services skyrocketed.
Grocery dark stores, where people can order groceries online and the goods will be delivered at the door or picked up at the curbside, are becoming more and more popular. Last-mile delivery is one of the biggest costs to companies but the demand is ever-increasing. These are rapidly changing the food retail industry.
Many cities in Europe, where urbanization and pollution are great concerns, are limiting car traffic, courier services, and the density of grocery stores in one area, as well as dark stores. Grocery stores are on the verge of decisions that need to meet the global sustainability goals and be cost-efficient, whilst giving customers a convenient and quick solution to buy goods.
That’s where the grocery locker comes into play. There are many ways to use a grocery locker to ease the lives of grocers and customers. For example, for the areas where it is difficult to get a construction permit for a store, the grocer can install a grocery locker for the community. This saves everyone’s time and resources. All of the community’s grocery orders are stored in one place that people can easily access – the locker is on the way from work to home. Instead of 40 minutes of shopping after work, the customer can order online, drive home and on the way home pick up the goods in under a minute.
They can be used to expand the grocers' presence into new cities or neighbourhoods without having to build an entire shop, deal with a mountain of paperwork, and hire more staff. They can also be used as a collaboration service. For example, a grocer places its lockers next to gas stations. The customer comes to pick up their order but they can also bring more business to the gas station by filling up their tank or buying something from the shop.
Cleveron’s Team X Manager Tanel Aruoja points out that: “If a grocery locker is located on the way home for a customer and an average drive to a supermarket and back is about 10 kilometers, then the yearly saving of CO2 is on average 67 kg.” He adds: “And this is for only one family. From the courier's side, this means that multiple orders can be completed with one trip, saving even more CO2 ." Delivering orders to one grocery locker means the courier can serve 20 households at a time.
Grocery lockers help to achieve food retail companies’ targets towards more sustainable and cost-efficient opportunities. Customers and couriers need to drive less, reducing CO2 emissions and helping eliminate traffic congestion. Delivering orders to one location means that companies can run their logistics more efficiently, save money, and would have to hire less staff to handle home deliveries. As a bonus for the customer, the service is available 24/7, which means they could pick up their order at any time, day or night.