STRATHAM — The buy-online, pickup-in-store ecommerce model is sweeping the nation, and Stratham-based logistics technologies firm Position Imaging Inc. is reimagining the customer pickup experience with its latest product, iPickup.
iPickup enables online shoppers to completely manage their purchasing experience when they buy online and pick up in stores. Instead of waiting in lines or finding their goods in lockers at stores, customers can use their unique receipt scan code to find their package right in a retailer’s pickup area. Customers locate their packages assisted by light guidance technology, which points a laser at their package and even alerts them if they’ve picked up the wrong one.
Existing hardware-focused, installation-heavy options are the industry standard. iPickup takes lockers, towers and associate involvement out of the equation. You may have seen Amazon Lockers, for example, which enable Amazon users to buy online and pickup their purchases in local spots, including grocery stores and copy centers. Whole Foods in Bedford and Nashua are both homes to the cheerfully-yellow locker system.
Or, if you’re like me, you may be a Macy’s buy-online, pickup-in-store fiend, familiar with the long lines and anxiety-inducing process of waiting for the typically-frustrated Macy’s associate to re-emerge from the oh-so-mysterious backroom with your order. Walmart even has a solution called Pickup Towers — at 16-feet tall, the towers are monstrous but can only hold packages of specific sizes, making them less than ideal as a scalable solution.
“Retailers are successful because they are good at selling products, not delivering them,” Position Imaging CEO Ned Hill says. “Ecommerce fulfillment for retailers not equipped for or interested in managing package delivery is simply a poor use of their time and resources.”
In one word, existing solutions are inefficient. Retailers might be best served focusing on their core competency of managing in-store purchases while leaving ecommerce fulfillment logistics to teams like Position Imaging that specialize in perfecting solutions that are “intuitive, cost-effective, and secure,” as Hill puts it.
“A poor pickup experience for customers drastically reduces the likelihood of that customer ever buying online and picking up in that store again,” he says.
Position Imaging will unveil its iPickup ecommerce fulfillment solution on Monday at NRF 2019: Retail’s Big Show, the largest retail trade show in the world, with 37,000 attendees, 16,000 retailers, and more than 700 exhibitors from 99 countries.
The “biggest entities in the retail industry” will be at the expo, Hill says. “We are so excited to be a part of NRF to let retailers who aren’t yet aware of iPickup know that there is a better way for them to serve their customers.”
Position Imaging will exhibit alongside strategic partner Hitachi-LD Data Storage, which manufactures the firm’s core Amoeba Computer Vision platform, the technology that powers iPickup and Smart Package Room, Position Imaging’s package pickup solution for multi-unit residential buildings.
The company has raised more than $15 million in private funding and is planning a big box retailer pilot of iPickup early this year, Hill shared. He says several other national retailers have committed to pilot the product, too. “iPickup will be in stores this year with name retailers,” he confirms.
In other news, Smart Package Room will begin installation ramp-ups this year now that Amoeba Computer Vision is ready for production-level manufacturing, with first-run units arriving at Position Imaging headquarters last week. The product is already in use at residential buildings in New York, Colorado and throughout the New England region with a backlog of orders.
If Smart Package Room efficiencies are any indication, iPickup retailers can look forward to employee time savings. Property Manager Erica Stockton of luxury apartment complex Southfield Commons in Weymouth, Mass., says Smart Package Room has saved her team more than four hours daily on package management for residence “who order everything online from their toilet paper to their furniture,” she says. “The minimal staff time that this amenity requires helps us to be more proactive and less stressed.”
Translating the ease of Position Imaging’s residential package management solution to the retail setting not only sounds like efficiency for retailers, but possibly even online shopping heaven for customers. The next time you pick up your online purchases at your local mall or grocery store, think about how New Hampshire’s own could be making that process so much smoother.