Like consumers, businesses are increasingly shopping for most of their goods online, too. It’s easier than ever to get office supplies, order from manufacturers, and even place a lunch order from the phone or desktop.
But this trend also means businesses have to manage all of their daily delivery drop-offs. And those particularly located in strip malls and office parks around America have to be concerned about theft, weather damage and spoilage of their delivered goods.
So what can proprietors do to protect their incoming goods? Here are some recommendations:
Major delivery companies like Amazon and UPS have been establishing local centers that can serve as drop-off points around the U.S. for businesses to have their packages sent and picked up in one location. Amazon calls theirs Hubs and UPS has the Access Point. Essentially, they are the same thing. It’s one place for businesses to ensure all of their packages are protected until they are ready to get them.
A business can also upgrade to a private, protect locker. Amazon calls theirs the Locker and UPS has dubbed theirs the Access Point Locker. These are self-service lockers where a business can conveniently pick up or drop off packages 24/7.
The great thing about delivery lockers is they securely hold packages and there’s no need to rush to get there before they close. Also, having the deliverer putting your items behind a locked door eliminates package liability for missed deliveries, protects against theft, and ensures inclement weather won’t ruin the package.
The main problem with lockers is their locations as most of them are found at convenience stores, grocery stores, apartment buildings, and malls. These places don’t shout small business locations, which means it is going to be rare to find one right at your doorstep. Hence, you’ll be lugging inventory back to your offices and if you get a lot of packages this solution is going to get real old real fast.
There are two key components of package delivery for businesses: convenience and safety. The aforementioned options offer one or the other, but not both. Still there is one alternative to these choices that keeps packages safe and allows deliveries to come directly to a place of business: the lockable package delivery box. The leader in this category is Adoorn.
These lockable receptacles accept boxes and envelopes when there are no employees around to receive the items. They are perfectly sized for small businesses that don’t have a dedicated shipping and receiving department and don’t receive a high volume of deliveries. Expect to see wider adoption of these lock boxes by businesses in the future, as they make the most sense in terms of convenience, and safety, and long-term affordability.
A more convenient option than adding a third location to the commute from home to work is to just have work deliveries sent to your residence. This is sort of a reverse of employees who work 9 to 5 having their packages sent to their homes so they won’t get stolen when they are at work.
Problem is, if you are running a business that has a brick and mortar location, you probably won’t be home when the delivery comes. As a result, this leaves the chance that products could get stolen right from the front door. And, if it rains, sleets or snows, sensitive packages are at high risk of ruin.
The buddy system works for kids on a field trip and it can work for neighboring businesses. Depending on the type of businesses that are in close proximity to yours, there might be another store that has different hours than yours or has a staff dedicated to receiving products who will let you send your deliveries to their location. This way you know your packages are being received, signed for, and safely stored.
The problem is most businesses in the same area usually have the same hours. Also, having someone else receive deliveries means businesses now have one more thing to keep track of and coordinate with employees--high potential for miscommunication.
One way to eliminate missing packages is to not have them delivered at all. Most of the big parcel and postal services will hold your packages at their delivery hubs. They’ll drop you an email or a call when it has arrived and you come and pick it up. Pretty simple and safe.
The issues with this option are timing and logistics. These stores are usually open regular business hours, which is probably when most stores are open. It can be a real pain to time it right to get packages and run a business. Plus, what if a town doesn’t have a FedEx store or UPS location? That’s a lot of drive time getting to and from the package holder to the store and that’s time when small businesses could be selling the products to customers but they are instead hauling their inventory around in their car.