BufferBox taps into avoiding missed online deliveries

12/6/2012

If you haven't heard of BufferBox, it's one of the hottest tech start-ups, started by three University of Waterloo grads, that offers temporary storage lockers where people can receive online purchases when they're not at home, says PC World.

Some have called it the future of how packages will be received. With the ever-growing e-commerce engine driving the need for secure and fast delivery options, they might be right.

Google just bought it; and Walmart Canada's e-commerce division is testing its technology, which accounts for 2 per cent of the retailer’s sales, according to the Globe and Mail.

One of the key retailers BufferBox works with is convenience chain 7-Eleven where having such a locker service generates foot traffic. BufferBox has installed six lockers in 7-Elevens in Toronto, and plans to open more in Canada, as well as south of the border.

What makes BufferBox's proposal so intriguing is that it eliminates failed deliveries, which the Globe reports could be as high as 60 per cent and accounts for multi-billion dollars of business implications.

Packages get delivered to a secure BufferBox locker, then customers. When you sign up for BufferBox's service, instead of inputting your own shipping address, you use one belonging to BufferBox.

The package is then delivered to a secure BufferBox locker that has a touchscreen interface resembling a larger automated parking garage ticket-payment machine.

BufferBox's main competition is from e-retailing giant Amazon that recently expanded its Amazon Locker service. The e-retailer's service will see boxes inside bricks-and-mortar stores. But BufferBox, unlike Amazon Locker, which is reserved for Amazon products and not available in Canada, will be available to everyone else.

“Amazon has 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the e-commerce market,” said BufferBox co-founder Mike McCauley in the Globe. “Every other retailer needs to offer the same type of service, but they don’t have the volume to justify it.”

Currently, BufferBox lockers are in Waterloo, Ont., and at Toronto's Union Station. There are plans for lockers in New York next.

At the moment, the service is free until the end of the year, after which there will be a $3-$4 charge per delivery for the service.

Watch video below on how BufferBox works:
http://embed.vidyard.com/share/zAnltihUsJEIZyblV6U1Tw

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