By Kami Navarro
E-commerce is having its moment.
On local shores, a report from Accenture showed that despite the onset of COVID-19 and the circuit breaker, Singaporeans’ love for shopping remained as strong as ever.
In fact, online revenue of restaurants and delivery services jumped by a whopping 161 percent, while the revenue of jewellery and luxury products climbed by 94 percent.
But there’s one remaining thorn in the side of e-commerce companies: the last mile delivery problem.
As indicated by its name, last mile delivery refers to the final and most-awaited step in the online shopping experience—getting the product from the warehouse shelf to the buyer’s door. Though speedy deliveries play a key part in determining customer satisfaction, last mile delivery is said to be the most expensive and time-consuming part of the entire logistics process.
In Singapore, last mile delivery will soon be a problem of the past. With the launch of Pick!, a wholly owned subsidiary company of the Infocomm Media Development Authority last 3 July 2020, an island-wide system of parcel locker stations are set to make online shopping and deliveries a breeze for local denizens like yourself.
Wave goodbye to missed deliveries!
Ever missed a delivery before? With the upcoming nationwide rollout of the locker stations, you’ll never miss a parcel again!
Not only will you be able to self-collect your parcels 24/7, 365 days a year, but you can even return these parcels in a contactless manner at most locker stations.
Given the expected growth of the e-commerce sector by 12-20 percent yearly until 2025—the network is expected to help address Singapore’s growing e-commerce demands, which sees around 200,000 parcels delivered daily.
“Our original thinking was that if we can create a common platform that our industry partners could use, we can make the [locker stations] available all over the island,” shared Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran.
“This way, we can make it convenient for our people in terms of delivery and we can also enhance the productivity and efficiency of our urban logistics services” he added. “We see the Pick! launch as an important first step, an investment in our last mile infrastructure, that benefits the urban logistics sector while providing a value-adding service for our consumers.”
Take your pick!
Pick’s launch comes hot off the heels of IMDA’s successful Locker Alliance pilot, where 62 parcel locker stations were installed in Bukit Panjang, Punggol and eight MRT stations last December 2018.
Consequently, logistics service providers saw a four-fold increase in delivery efficiency, with 75 percent of lucky users in the two towns declaring themselves as satisfied with the service.
Starting in early 2021, Pick will progressively roll out a total of 1,000 parcel locker stations located in key public locations to ensure widespread accessibility, including transport nodes like MRT stations, bus interchanges and community clubs.
In addition, every HDB block is set to have at least one parcel locker within 250 metres, roughly the distance of a five-minute walk.
According to Pick CEO Mr New Soon Tee, the initial batch of 200 locker stations will be rolled out in the first quarter of next year. Do watch out—all 1,000 lockers should be in place by the end of 2021, a year ahead of schedule!
With the Network in place, you can opt to self-collect your latest online purchase at the nearest locker station at your convenience.
Logistics companies then deliver the parcel to the specified locker station. Once the parcel is delivered, you’ll be notified via text that your parcel is ready for pick up at the assigned locker. Now that’s the kind of text everyone wants to receive!
Convenience for all
Of course, the formation of the Network isn’t just convenient for customers. It also stands to benefit the logistics industry.
By offering a solution that customers, e-commerce retailers and logistics service providers (LSPs) can easily use, the Network will help ensure a smoother and more efficient experience for all stakeholders.
“More deliveries done within a shorter amount of time means better returns for the company, as well as a better experience for those in the delivery sector,” said Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Sim Ann at the launch.
Accordingly, Pick has established Memoranda of Intent with household e-commerce names like Lazada, Qoo10 and Shopee, as well as SingPost.
Once the lockers have been installed, customers buying items from these sites will be able to pick up their parcels from Pick locker stations. Pick has also partnered with other LSPs such as DHL, EasyParcel, FedEx, J&T Express, Qxpress, ST Logistics, UPS and WMG.
“E-commerce is coming in and changing the landscape quite significantly,” said Ms Sim. “Therefore, we also need to update the public infrastructure.” This, she explained, is one of the primary drivers for establishing the Network.
“As Singapore’s appetite for e-commerce grows, it is crucial that we develop innovative models to help expand the capabilities of logistics providers even as they face challenges with limited resources,” added IMDA Chief Executive Mr Lew Chuen Hong.
With the launch of Pick and the Nationwide Parcel Locker Network, hassle-free delivery will soon be the norm for everyone involved. Doesn’t that paint such a nice pick-ture?