More Australians will be frequenting 7-Eleven convenience stores not to fill up their car or buy cheap coffee – but to collect a parcel.
Free 24/7 parcel lockers have been installed in more than 200 7-Eleven stores and a further 300 will be capable of storing your delivery order by the end of 2021.
The announcement by Australia Post on Thursday has been lauded by economic experts, who say this is a smart move that represents part of the future of delivery.
“Other delivery providers like StarTrack and DHL already have similar sorts of things, and so Australia Post expanding that capability seems like a smart way to compete,” Richard Holden, professor of economics at UNSW Business School, told The New Daily.
The option to have a parcel delivered to a 7-Eleven locker could prove useful for online shoppers who want to avoid paying to lease a PO Box, or who aren’t always home and want to avoid the hassle of chasing after their delivery, especially if it is an expensive purchase.
Professor Holden said often with high-value items like electronic devices, senders won’t allow them to be left outside a front door if the receiver isn’t home, particularly if they live in an apartment building without security.
He said many shoppers would rather set up a delivery destination in advance than receive a text message or slip in their mailbox asking them to pick up their purchase if they missed their delivery.
Unlike a PO Box, a parcel locker is yours only while your parcel is in it, so they may prove useful for one-off or high-value purchases.
Meanwhile, other shoppers might take advantage of them to lower the risk of theft from their doorstop or of pests damaging their deliveries.
“The number of pests involving parcels is increasing dramatically,” said Flavio Romero Macau, a senior lecturer in supply chain management and global logistics at Edith Cowan University.
Dr Macau said reports show that as many as one in four Australians have a parcel stolen.
“These are modern pirates that are getting those parcels when they are simply dropped in front of doors,” he said.
“And then there is a lot of frustration and some red tape to go through when bad things happen.”
Online shoppers want “the ability to buy anything in any way” and “receive anything in any way”, Dr Macau added.
“Customers don’t want to be at home necessarily when the package comes, so they want more options, and relying on 7-Eleven is a clever decision.”
Online shopping grew by almost 32 per cent over the 12 months to July 2021, according to a recent Australia Post report.
Australia Post’s Community & Consumer executive general manager Nicole Sheffield said the company is “delivering more parcels than ever before” and expanding its locker network into more 7-Eleven stores “just makes sense”.
“This partnership with 7-Eleven gives our customers greater choice on the most convenient way to collect what they’ve bought, at the times and places that suit them,” she said in a statement.
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Dr Macau said Australia Post was looking for a partner that had a presence in many different locations and was open 24/7.
“It makes 7-Eleven a natural choice because, especially in the capital cities, you will find them pretty spread in neighbourhoods.”
There aren’t many businesses like it, he said.
“Instead of closing deals with local partners here and there and having an even more complex delivery system, by reaching an agreement with 7-Eleven you can guarantee that you will have that many options in that many places that will be open all the time,” Dr Macau said.
“There are not many businesses in Australia that can offer the same value as 7-Eleven can to Australia Post at this moment.”