The Future of E-Commerce and Smart Parcel Lockers

The meteoric rise of eCommerce, fueled by Covid-19, continues to reach records with consumer's buying behaviours forever changed. During the current economic challenges, eCommerce sales grew almost 21% in 2020, reaching $52 billion in Canada. In 2021, it is expected that retail eCommerce will continue to grow an additional 12.5% and by 2024 eCommerce sales will likely reach almost $80 billion in Canada.

This rise has been a significant tailwind for established eCommerce companies and a saviour for many retailers who have had their stores shut down because of government-enforced closures. Moving forward, selling online is going to be imperative for every retailer. With the incredible increase in online shopping and parcel deliveries, there are, however, a number of challenges and demands that face retailers, consumers, and parcel couriers. These include:

  • A way to lower shipping costs
  • Reducing missed deliveries
  • Eliminating parcel theft
  • Reducing the cost and improving the convenience of product returns 
  • Giving consumers additional options on how they receive their parcels
  • Streamlining in-store pickups

On top of the challenges and demands, there is a growing concern that the current delivery methods and processes are not great for the environment or urban centre liveability.

Is there a solution that can address the above demands and challenges? The answer is yes and it’s starting to make its way into the marketplace and over the next five years will become a main component in the logistics of eCommerce in North America. The solution? Smart Parcel Lockers also known as Automated Parcel Lockers.

Smart Parcel Lockers are intelligent electronic devices that automate the receipt, storage, and dissemination of items. Deposits are streamlined through scanning an item and once it has been placed into the locker and is ready for pick up, the recipient is sent a notification with a pickup code that they can enter or scan at the locker to retrieve their item. These lockers are secure, modular, easy to use, can be installed both indoors and outdoors, and can be customized to display a brand or a message.

How Smart Lockers Address Current Challenges

Here are the specific ways Smart Lockers address the challenges we spoke about earlier in this blog:


As a standalone device, Smart Lockers are a very practical, technical marvel. However, as their density grows in a geographical area their value increases exponentially. Consider a ubiquitous network of lockers spread throughout North America located in public locations, residential and commercial buildings, malls, and storefronts. The power of this network comes from creating a country wide distribution network that is available for any courier, retailer, or consumer to take advantage of, no matter where they’re located. This magnifies the appeal and the benefits described in the table given the scope of who can then use them and the economies scale of delivering and picking up more parcel volume on a per-location basis. Furthermore, the movement of parcels can occur between lockers 24/7, giving a whole new dimension to the possibilities of how parcels get picked up and dropped off. A network of this size also allows for the mobilization of part-time workforces to participate in the movement of goods that will cost less than traditional methods while offering new levels of service expectations. 

Technology has always been adapted when it delivers demonstrable benefits to a group of people. In the case of Smart Parcel Lockers, they provide a multi-faceted role in parcel shipping whose power will only grow as their numbers increase and inevitably, will become an integral part in the landscape of eCommerce parcel delivery. 

Here at ParcelPort, we’re focused on designing, deploying, and supporting Smart Parcel Locker solutions. We’re passionate about helping to build a future that includes a ubiquitous network of Smart Parcel Lockers given their ability to add value for Commercial & Residential Property Managers and Builders, Retailers, Consumers, and Parcel Couriers. Parcel Port is a wholly-owned Canadian company focused on designing, deploying, and supporting Smart Parcel Locker solutions. We differentiate ourselves through innovation, solution development, and a passion for delighting our customers.

To learn more about our Smart Parcel Locker solutions please contact us today!