Irish delivery company Nightline is to create a network of self-service parcel terminals across the country in a bid to make online shopping cheaper and more convenient for both consumers and retailers.
The new Parcel Motel service, offered in partnership with Polish locker box business InPost, will launch in June, when 100 banks of around 80 parcel lockers will be available for use across the greater Dublin area. By 2014, the independent delivery company aims to have 400 terminals across the country.
Nightline chief executive John Tuohy said the move could be very significant for the development of ecommerce in Ireland. “On the basis of the extensive research we conducted while developing Parcel Motel, we believe it may well further fuel the volume of internet retail in Ireland, such will be its impact on the convenience for consumers of shopping online and for retailers on the cost of processing deliveries and returns,” he said.
"It means customers not having to wait around to receive packages or having to reschedule their day to pop to a local post office. They will be able to collect purchases from secure units when they want.
"In terms of their appearance, the Parcel Motels will be hard to miss and, in terms of the greater flexibility they'll provide online shoppers, they'll be hard to beat.""
The service will see online customers who opt for delivery to a Parcel Motel receive a PIN code by text message when their parcel is delivered. They then use that code to open the locker and retrieve their delivery.
The lockers, branded in Nightline’s colours, are built and designed at the Krakow factory of InPost, which has been making similar units for use in Europe since 2008.
InPost chief executive Rafal Brzoska said: “The terminals have become incredibly popular because they can drastically reduce last-mile delivery costs. As ecommerce continues to increase, parcel companies and retailers realise the need for innovative, reliable and secure means of delivery.
"Our terminals need the support of efficient parcel firms and that is why I feel that our partnership with Nightline will generate success for the Parcel Motel venture and real benefits for e-commerce companies and their Irish customers."
The agreement comes as Nightline prepares to celebrate 20 years in business. In the last 12 months, the company has announced ecommerce delivery deals with leading fashion retailers, including the Aurora Fashions-owned Coast, Oasis, Warehouse and Karen Millen chains.
Our view: It's interesting to see another use of the locker box concept close to home. In the UK the idea is being rolled out by ByBox and Amazon, but this widescale use of locker boxes can only help to normalise the concept, and boost customer expectations here as well as in Ireland.