Recent growth of E-commerce has led to multiple benefits for the stakeholders within the last mile distribution. Consumers obtain the convenience of E-shopping, while retailers increase sales through the alternative distribution channel. However, along with advantages, E-commerce has created multiple challenges for the organizations. Continuously increasing volumes of purchased and returned goods generate a new level of pressure for the logistic service providers, whereas the retailers are faced with even greater market competition and growing consumer expectations. In the light of these changes, the E-commerce last mile distribution players are seeking new solutions.
One of the potential solutions are parcel lockers, which are also known as intelligent boxes, delivery stations and click-and-collect. Parcel lockers are a form of self-service technologies that appear as a new tool for creating values for all the stakeholders within the E-commerce last mile distribution, namely consumers, retailers, logistics service and city communities. Parcel locker networks have been successfully implementation in countries like Germany, Australia, US and France. However, for most of the national markets, parcel lockers are a tool that is presently unknown or still making its way to the market, as it happens in Sweden. It also appears that parcel lockers have not received attention in research.
This project took start in the autumn of 2015 and is dedicated to the investigation of the customer perspective on parcel lockers. The Swedish E-commerce last mile distribution serves as an optimal context for the customer value investigation as the market in on the edge of parcel locker network implementation. The project addresses the raising challenges and opportunities of Swedish E-commerce by filling in the knowledge gap in customer perspective on the new service tool.
This research aims to investigate, understand and report how Swedish E-consumers experience parcel lockers at different consumption stages, as well as to monitor how consumers respond to the new service tool. The project is to develop the knowledge on What are the customer values in parcel lockers? The research project contributes to research and market practices of parcel locker network implementation and performance evaluation. Furthermore, the findings allow E-commerce companies and logistic service providers to understand the customer behavior and requirements, which enables organizations to adjust market strategies and optimize performances.
The project started with the plan that incorporates three studies:
- “Customer Values in Self-Service Kiosks. A Systematic Literature Review”, which answers the question What are the customer values in self-service kiosks? This study provides a theoretical foundation for further investigations within the project, as well as other studied dedicated to customer values in self-service kiosk.
- “Customer Values in Parcel Lockers. Swedish Consumers’ Perspective”, which answers the question How do Swedish consumers experience parcel lockers? This study allows to develop propositions regarding the studied matter based on findings from focus group interviews. Moreover, it service as a bridge to the following study.
- “Parcel Lockers. Measuring Customer Values”. The study measures customer values in parcel lockers in Swedish E-commerce market context with help of surveys.
Further investigations will be conducted based on the findings from the three initial studies.
The project unites post operator PostNord AB, Helsinborgs stad, clothing retailer H&M, parcel locker provider Combiplate, communication technology provider EasyCom and researchers from Lund University Campus Helsingborg. The project is carried out in relation with the VINNOVA project “Paketautomat i stad och glesbygd på företag och myndigheter” (“Parcel locker in urban-, rural areas at workplaces and at authorities”).