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BufferBox wants to put an end to failed delivery notices

Posted by Derek Flack / October 31, 2012

Bufferbox TorontoFailed delivery notices might be a first world problem, but they're still a pain in the ass for the folks eagerly awaiting their latest Apple product or other online purchase. Following a model that's more common in European cities, Waterloo startup BufferBox has brought parcel pick-up stations to GO transit hubs and select convenience stores in the GTA and GHA (Greater Hamilton Area, in case you were wondering).

At present the roll-out of the boxes has been modest, with pick-up stations located at Union Station, and the East Teamway, Clarkson, Burlington, Oakville and Port Credit GO stations. According to a press release from the company, 21 stations are planned by the end of the year with another 80 or so in the works for 2013. There are also a few boxes in 7/11 convenience stores.

How does it work? Instead of shipping a parcel to your home or office, customers send an item to a pick-up station. When it arrives, BufferBox sends an email notification with a PIN that is used to access the item at the station, which is accessible 24hrs a day. There are size limitations, of course. The max parcel size is 25"x22"x17" — which the company claims is about that of a 26" television.

For now the service is free (yay!), but as the network of boxes increases, BufferBox will charge for use of its services, as it does currently for those packages that incur international duty. BufferBox covers the costs, and in turn charges a nine per cent processing fee. For more info about the parcel-pick stations, check out BufferBox's FAQ section.

What do you think? Would you use this service?

Discussion

21 Comments

Michelle / October 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm
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I most definitely would use this service and will be watching for downtown locations. No more begging hubby to let me have my items delivered to his work! Because delivering them to my work would be a whole big deal...
Michelle / October 31, 2012 at 12:34 pm
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But wait, there's lots more locations listed on their website here: http://www.bufferbox.com/locations
melikeydzzzz / October 31, 2012 at 12:45 pm
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Definitely use it.

Nothing worse than UPS and if you miss a delivery trudging up to their York University depot to pick up your parcel.
milo / October 31, 2012 at 12:48 pm
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and this is why i love living in a condo.
n / October 31, 2012 at 12:59 pm
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i am close to the post office and ups, so no point. i also don't see the point in paying additional fee for shipping online products - at some point with shipping fee + bufferbox fee (I understand it is free for now) it will be cheaper buying in store.
W. K. Lis / October 31, 2012 at 01:19 pm
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Why can't they (UPS, FedEx, etc.) deliver to the group superbox where the mail goes to as well?
Dan / October 31, 2012 at 02:33 pm
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Definitely going to be using this and ditching my PO box.
Dan replying to a comment from W. K. Lis / October 31, 2012 at 02:36 pm
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How would the courier be able to access the box? How would you address your mail if it was going straight to the box?
arundel / October 31, 2012 at 02:57 pm
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Ummm... Wasn't there an almost identical service called "Empori" in the 2001-02 era? I recall they had an outlet in the Richmond Centre (and elsewhere) that was setup with post office boxes. It was gone after about a year.
sprung / October 31, 2012 at 02:59 pm
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sounds like a good idea. especially for all those special 'plain brown packages' you don't want others to see.

on a more serious note, good thing for Christmas/birthdays when you wouldn't want the surprise to be spoiled in advance by having the intended gift recipient take delivery of the item.
Raven / October 31, 2012 at 03:20 pm
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I remember using Empori a few times when it was around! Perhaps part of the problem is that online shopping just wasn't as prevalent as it is now?

Here's an article that tries to explain why Empori didn't survive: http://www.backbonemag.com/Magazine/B2C_07050601.asp
Sasha / October 31, 2012 at 03:36 pm
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How do you ensure that somebody else doesn't take your package from the BufferBox? Does the passcode allow you acess to a great big box full of everyone's stuff, or are there smaller compartments/lockers for each package within the box?
Dan replying to a comment from Sasha / October 31, 2012 at 04:10 pm
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Each person/package has its own box which can only be opening with the PIN.
charalique / October 31, 2012 at 09:01 pm
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i would DEFINITELY use this service! i am rarely home during normal business hours and end up missing the delivery. i don't mind picking up from fedex/ups/purolator depots that are close to my home, but there was one time that the fedex customer support lady insisted that my parcel could only be picked up at the WHITBY location!!!! living in TORONTO i was able to pick up other parcels at least in sauga. i found this to be absolutely ridiculous!!!!!!

i'd pay an extra premium to ensure my stuff always gets to a location accessible to me.
Jim / October 31, 2012 at 09:07 pm
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Why the Apple plug? Weird thing to put in an article.
carina / October 31, 2012 at 09:47 pm
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We have one! We have one at work and it's fantastic. A lot of our employees get their packages delivered directly to the office, so we can put them in the BufferBox and they can come and get them as they please: no need for a receptionist to stand guard watching over them and calling people about their package arrivals. It alleviates time and duty on the person receiving them, and is quite secure.

Pretty cool product and it's been working pretty well.
sylvia / November 1, 2012 at 08:24 am
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Its basically a copy / paste of Amazon's locker service
M Shakir / November 1, 2012 at 08:57 am
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Best drug dealing tool.
Mere / November 1, 2012 at 05:37 pm
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There's a major flaw to their system. Users will have to ship their items first to their Burlington warehouse location then buffer box will transfer the item to the nearest box of the user. Having them receive the item for you and then ship it again will waste more time then actually getting a delivery notice and picking up your item the next day.
scottd / November 2, 2012 at 10:50 am
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I see the logic but I still dont understand the business model. I just read that the market for residential drop boxes is increasing (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/business/elephant-trunk-mailbox-evolves-to-fit-a-new-purpose.html) which would solve the problem for some. At work people get packages all the time left with reception so I dont see the need there either (and they are sent there so that stuff doesnt go to a condo). It will be interesting to see how things work out.
Art Cordingley / January 25, 2013 at 01:29 pm
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I think the idea stinks! I am 89 and although I still drive I need an approx. 15 mile round trip to pick up a parcel like a hole in the head!!

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