7-Eleven Expands Locker Space, Hoping to Cash in on e-Commerce Surge

For retailers, lockers offer a potential salve for the logistical headaches that come with booming online sales

The Wall Street Journal

Nov. 12, 20157-Eleven Inc. is making space for more lockers at a number of its North American stores, in a bet that growing e-commerce volumes will help drive Slurpee sales.

The company has added lockers where customers can pick up packages from FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. over the last year, and announced in October that it would install Wal-Mart lockers in six locations in Toronto as well. The additions mark a significant expansion in scope of a program first piloted with Amazon.com Inc. in 2011. Now, any retailer that ships via UPS or FedEx has the lockers as a delivery option.

Customers in the U.S. and Canada who don’t want packages left on their doorsteps can arrange to have online orders from retailers delivered to lockers at 200 locations so far, which they open by scanning bar codes sent over email to their smartphones. The scan automatically opens the locker containing their purchase.

For retailers, locker solutions offer a potential salve for the logistical headaches that have come with surging online sales, including overtaxed distribution networks and escalating shipping costs. Wal-Mart, for example, can save on extra home delivery costs by dropping packages off directly at lockers using its own truck fleet. 7-Eleven has felt less of this pressure because much of its business comes from impulse purchases made in person. But executives say they had to find a way to stay relevant as an increasing number of consumers shop for groceries, personal grooming products and other convenience store staples online.

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