Canadian Tire is moving beyond pilot stage with the implementation of smart in-store contactless product retrieval lockers.
The Toronto-based department store conglomerate is partnering with retail technology services and solution provider Direct Source, workspace furnishings manufacturer Safco, and technology company Synq to deploy the companies’ jointly developed, multi-use smart locker system.
Shoppers can place an order online or in-store and then retrieve their products or services from a secure locker which can be placed either inside or outside the store.
Customers can open the lockers via their personal smartphone for a seamless check-out process. Consumers can also use the lockers to make contactless returns using their smartphone, with no app required.
The smart lockers integrate with back-end POS information, inventory management, and distribution systems to help store associates view orders and track and load approved purchases into a locker. Canadian Tire started testing the smart lockers in a pilot rollout in 2019, and will expand of the program to hundreds of its retail locations across Canada.
Smart lockers have been growing in popularity, particularly as a means to securely store online grocery orders in a temperature-controlled environment for in-store pickup. Lowe’s Foods and Ahold Delhaize USA banner Stop & Shop both implemented in-store pickup lockers during 2021.
“Smart lockers are ideal for high-value items that should be secured — yet easily accessible — for customers who want a fast, easy pick-up experience,” said Justin Young, manager of a Canadian Tire store in Victoria, British Columbia. “Adding smart lockers alleviates wait times at the customer service desks that have traditionally been used for customer pickup. Now, these associates can focus their attention on customers that need immediate help within the store. As a result, store associates can maximize productivity and efficiency, which is crucial with the labor market sensitivities we are facing.”
“Labor shortages, crowded stores, long lines at check-out, and health and safety concerns are issues plaguing the retail industry,” said Brad Fick, president of Direct Source. “Our partnership with Safco and Synq allows us to give retailers a competitive edge by deploying smart lockers that streamline the product retrieval and checkout process and help alleviate employee pain points.”
“For retailers, in-store lockers help reduce costs associated with fulfilling and shipping online orders, with the added benefit of bringing shoppers into the store where they may choose to make additional purchases,” said Shawn Green, VP of product and marketing of Safco.
“Traditional BOPIS lockers were single-use appliances and nothing more than a post-office box, meaning we couldn’t validate the return on invested capital,” said Nolan Wheeler, CEO of Synq. “This led to the realization that the initial locker concept was flawed and a prison of products. It was time for modernizing the lockers from single-use to multi-use to support retailers and customers. These smart lockers enable BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store), BISPUN (buy in-store, pick up now), service, vending and returns – a new-use case that resolves one of the greatest frustrations in retail.”
Canadian Tire Corp. operates more than 1,700 retail and gasoline outlets across Canada, offering multi-category assortments in categories such as automotive, hardware, sports, leisure, housewares and apparel.