by Paul Smith | THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW
Mark Bouris-led listed technology provider TZ Ltd has signed a pair of crucial partnership agreements with e-commerce and logistics providers. which will see its secure smart lockers installed at a network of convenience stores, news agencies and other locations across the country. The deals with e-commerce delivery specialists Parcel Point and rapidly growing freight systems aggregator Temando, mark the latest move in a growing battle to nail down the so-caned last mile” of online retail transactions.
They join a recently announced initiative by Toll Holdings and Australia Post, which are aimed at taking the hassle out of deliveries for online shoppers, by providing a range of delivery options. TZ provides smart lockers, which are installed at collection centres. Online deliveries can be made to them, without requiring a signature, so customers pick up the goods at a convenient time.
ParcelPoint already provides e-commerce delivery options through a network of 500 newsagents and convenience stores in Australia, and will now offer TZ lockers to existing and potential delivery locations. Temando meanwhile has established relationships with the top 200 freight carriers. It has a wide-ranging customer base including domestic and international online retailers and manages a substantial portion of Australia’s online retail transactions. it will offer TZ lockers as an option 10 its clients when booking deliveries.
TZ’s executive chairman said Amazon was aggressively rolling out lockers in grocery, convenience and drugstore outlets across the US and Europe, providing new pick-up locations for online retail customers. 17 planned to do this in Australia with a carrier-agnostic approach. “This whole game is not just about technology, and not just about online shoppers’ willingness to buy online, it
is about distribution point and where you can get footprint from,” Mr Bouris told The Australian Financial Review.
“It is good for the e-tailer because it means they know the goods will be delivered without the customer getting irritated by waiting or missing drivers, and the stores housing lockers get a share of the delivery fee, and also increased foot traffic, from people that are likely to buy something else while they are there.”
ParcelPoint chief executive Adam McArthur said demand for “last mile” services was through the roof, because online retailers had grown tired of the high number of online purchases scrapped at the last checkout phase, once customers saw delivery options.
The existing 500 ParcelPoint locations were all “staff assist” models. Being able to offer lockers meant many more stores would be open to the idea of being a delivery location, as demands on staff would be less. “Our aim is to have 1000 by Christmas, with TZ we will be able to speed that up,” Mr McArthur said. “So far 85 per cent of our stores have been in Sydney and Melbourne, because that is where the highest traffic is. But we will also be able to target the areas where the greatest nu tuber of failed deliveries occur, because e-tailers collect that data.” Temando came to prominence ear-lier this year, when Ellerston Capital, partly owned by James Packer’s Consolidated Press Holdings, paid about 55 million for a shareholding.
Chief executive Carl Hartmann said the deal with TZ was the missing link in its current offering. “We live in an age where most people work 9 to 5, and online service is not so much about offering free deliveries any more, it is about having deliveries that fit in with peoples’ lifestyles,” he said.
“Giving TZ and ParcelPoint the chance to be part of the initial deliveries where the merchant knows a collection will he the best option really adds to the options that e-tailers are demanding.”