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e-Commerce deliveries unlocked

Delivery lockers for products ordered online are increasingly popular in many European countries, including Poland. Will the Alibaba group’s new plan of operating delivery lockers in Poland affect the amount of counterfeit products in circulation? Read on and find out.

Once the COVID-19 pandemic is over and people won’t spend every hour of every day at home, ordering products online will become slightly harder. After all, who will have the time to sit around all day, waiting for the postman?

Luckily, a few solutions already exist to this problem. Many carriers offer scheduling deliveries or leaving the package at a pre-chosen safe spot. But what if you can’t find a time that works and no really safe spots exist around your apartment where a package could lie undisturbed for hours?

Well, there’s another service that provides a safe solution for all that and more. Meet InPost, the first automated e-Commerce locker service in Poland.

InPosting packages

InPost installed its first e-Commerce locker back in 2010. Today, the company operates over 120,000 safe, automatic parcel lockers available 24/7 in Poland. The lockers are easily accessible for customers via the InPost app or a QR code received along with the notification about the arrival of the parcel. There are different sized lockers available for different packages. Some are even refrigerated for the protection of perishable goods.

The service is faster than normal postal deliveries (instead of making hundreds of stops at the homes of customers, the courier simply deposits all packages at one spot), often promising arrival within 24 hours of shipment. This also helps the environment (less traffic, less exhaust fumes), and saves a considerable amount of money for businesses (shorter and fewer delivery routes, less employees).

And with an abundance of lockers available for customers, everybody can pick the one most convenient for them.

Screenshot of parcel locker locator in Warsaw, Poland
Screenshot of parcel locker locator in Warsaw, Poland

No wonder that locker deliveries are on the rise in Poland. In 2020, over 10% of all packages were sent to lockers there, and analysts predict this percentage is going to increase further in the future.

Lockers around the world

Poland is not the only country where package delivery lockers are thriving. Other European countries like Germany, Finland, Belgium and the UK have also jumped on the delivery locker bandwagon.

Various providers like DHL, national postal services, UPS, and even Amazon itself offer safe lockers to receive and send packages any time throughout the day. In fact, InPost is expanding, setting up lockers outside Poland in other countries like the UK and France.

In the US, non-home deliveries have historically been concentrated at convenience stores located in every neighborhood. But with the COVID-19 pandemic and online ordering in full swing, long lines have often formed in front of these stores that they weren’t equipped to deal with. The US is looking for an alternate solution, which may very well turn out to be e-Commerce lockers.

While we can’t yet safely say that locker deliveries are sure to become the future of online shopping, the upward trend is certainly promising, indicating that this type of delivery is here to stay. So much so that Chinese e-Commerce giant Alibaba is making a play for it.

Alibaba goes Poland

Picture of lockers in a row
Picture of lockers in a row

Several e-Commerce companies have seen the potential in providing lockers for customers to pick up their packages.

Amazon, for example, has lockers available in several countries including the US, Canada, Germany, Australia, France, and Italy.

Polish e-Commerce company Allegro has also followed suit and is teaming up with a provider to offer safe lockers for its customers.

And now, it seems that the Alibaba group is interested in something similar.

AliExpress, a member of the Alibaba group, has already been present in Poland since 2017 and currently uses InPost’s lockers for non-home deliveries.

However, the Chinese e-Commerce group is reportedly aiming to set up a network of around 8,000 parcel lockers in the country, creating some competition for InPost.

This is a clear sign that the Alibaba group, and AliExpress in particular wants to strengthen its foothold in Poland, a country with one of the most dynamically expanding e-Commerce markets in Central and Eastern Europe. The company is currently the second largest online marketplace in Poland, with 5.87 million active users in 2020 (up from 4.8 million in 2019). Amazon saw that same chance when it launched Amazon.pl earlier this year.

While it’s certainly good news that customers have an increasing range of products to choose from, online brand protection experts have a few concerns about AliExpress’ planned expansion. Because that increasing supply of products? Well, not all of them are legit and safe for customers.

Counterfeits unlocked

Some Asian marketplaces have previously been linked to selling counterfeits. AliExpress is not immune to this; in fact, we are in regular contact with the marketplace about fraudulent listings of our clients’ products.

We even did a case study on AliExpress where we used our test purchase service to learn more about third party sellers on the marketplace. Although in that case, the product turned out to be genuine and indeed originating from the country it claimed to be from, communication with the seller and general information about our purchase was below the regular standards.

How will this situation change due to the introduction of e-Commerce locker deliveries? Will AliExpress’ popularity grow in Europe, resulting in more potential counterfeit products flooding the market? That is certainly a valid prospect, one that brands need to address sooner rather than later.

Luckily, our online brand protection services are not affected by the means of delivery. Our marketplace monitoring is ready to check for counterfeits, grey market products, and any other listings that infringe your IP rights. The combination of the expertise of our dedicated online brand protection experts and our state-of-the-art software tools ensure that we find fraudulent listings as quickly as they pop up.

With our marketplace sales tracking service, you’ll be able to get a comprehensive insight into the sales figures of sellers offering counterfeit or grey market versions of your products. This way, you’ll be able to separate the big fish from small timers and also determine the amount you could claim in damage payments, should you escalate the issue to a court case.

Finally, our enforcement service offers swift removal of infringing listings and other content that hurts your IP rights, and court-admissible documentation to help your brand in eventual legal proceedings.

Conclusion

e-Commerce lockers have definite advantages when it comes to a safer, more cost-efficient, and environmentally friendly delivery process. However, this delivery method may contribute to the increasing success of online marketplaces that have been linked to the trade of counterfeit products.

globaleyez is ready to fight counterfeits and grey market products, regardless of how they are delivered to consumers. Reach out to us and let us know about the unique brand protection challenges your brand faces.

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