Asda’s click and collect parcel collection and return automation in the UK

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Asda is piloting Cleveron’s automated self-service parcel solution PackRobot in Manchester, United Kingdom. 

UK’s first click and collect parcel vending machine enables Asda’s customers to collect and return online parcel orders in-store as a self-service option in less than a minute.

Asda Parcel Tower video
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The challenge of in-store pickup

E-commerce is continuously growing all over the world, and consumer behavior is shifting from going to the stores and standing in queues to buying goods online. In 2017, e-commerce in the UK grew to 15.6 billion euros. It is expected that in 2018, the growth rate would be 14.3%, which means that e-commerce in the UK could be worth 17.8 billion euros. (Ecommerce News)

Brick and mortar retailers are developing their online platforms to facilitate this change in consumer behavior and to keep up with competitors. Click and collect manual pickup solution – buy online, pick up in store – is one option to boost sales but it also has some downsides.

The increase in online purchases with manual parcel collection in the store creates several challenges:

  • The higher volume of parcels requires additional space, bringing increased costs on storage
  • Manual parcel delivery and returns create additional work for employees, resulting in higher labor costs
  • Parcel collection and return in the cash register create queues, and the customer spends more time waiting, either to collect their parcel or to make a regular purchase

Therefore, continuously growing parcel volumes make the in-store manual click and collect unsustainable.

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The solution – automated click and collect parcel collection and return

Following the successful trial of parent company Walmart, who launched its Pickup Towers, Asda set up Cleveron’s PackRobot, aka Parcel Tower, in Trafford Park, Manchester. The PackRobot allows customers to pick up parcels and make returns. Asda also offers a shared network to third parties, creating additional value.

PackRobot aka Parcel Tower

  • 16 ft (5 m) tall and 8 ft (2,5 m) wide
  • Located inside the store
  • Automated parcel storage
  • Automated parcel collection and returns
  • Parcel delivery time on average in 12 seconds
  • Holds up to 500 parcels on just 5,4 m2
More about the PackRobot
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The collect and return process

1. The customer can choose from thousands of items available at Asda’s online store George.com or from selected third-party retailers who use the toyou parcel service and, at checkout, select the store pickup option

2. When the online order is placed in the Parcel Tower, the system notifies the customer by sending the pickup code to their smartphone
3. When the customer visits the store, they can scan a code from their smartphone or type the code in the Parcel Tower to receive their order

4. On average, the order is retrieved on average in 12 seconds

5. The order can also be returned to the Parcel Tower with similar easy steps
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Enhanced customer experience

Automated self-service click and collect pickup solution saves customers time and money. The pickup from PackRobot is free for the customer, just like parcel collection from the store. The online order can be picked up separately, without having to stand in a queue in the cash register and without having to wait for assistance from the staff. The employees can concentrate on their main tasks and do not have to search for the online orders in the storage.
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Cost-efficient solution for labor and storage

Automated click and collect pickup solution PackRobot is 80% more effective than any manual click and collect pickup service.
  • Parcel pickup and return is automated, reducing parcel handling costs
  • Parcel pickup is done in-store, reducing last mile delivery costs
  • The PackRobot holds up to 500 items but only takes up 5,4 m² of floor space

Increased store visits

The PackRobot is situated inside the store. A study on consumer buying trends in 2017 holiday shopping season showed that 40% of shoppers used click and collect and 90% of them bought additional items once in the store.

Additional value through third parties

Asda’s Parcel Tower collection and return service is opened to selected third-party retailers like ASOS, Missguided, Decathlon, and others, who use the Asda’s toyou end-to-end parcel delivery.

Launched in November 2015 as the UK’s first end-to-end parcel solution, toyou uses minute-by-minute tracking and allows consumers to return or collect purchases from third-party online retailers at more than 600 Asda stores.

The customers can collect or return the third-party parcels also to the Parcel Tower, making the service even quicker and more convenient.
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We know speed and convenience are important factors to customers and partners of our toyou service, and we’re always looking for new ways to bring that to them. The Parcel Towers are the latest example of how we’re using new technology to save our customers time and money. (Asda)

Neil Drake
Asda’s toyou Retail Process, Systems and Innovation Manager

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Contact us for additional information about ROI, software, technical support, piloting process or any other topic

For additional information call or send e-mail

Reio Orasmäe
Sales manager

E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: (+372) 609 1671