You expected your mail carrier to deliver a package, but when you stepped out for a minute, you missed it.
Or maybe when you were at work, an unexpected delivery came and no one was home to receive it.
In either scenario, you’d usually end up having to go to the local post office and get in line to pick up the package — that’s provided you got there before it closed.
That inconvenience, say the owners of San Francisco-based Swapbox, an electronic delivery service now operating in the Bay Area, can be eliminated by its “retail robotic post office.”
This form of post office is not limited to certain hours or once-a-day deliveries, Swapbox officials say.
Similar to the Amazon Locker service — which is restricted to Amazon.com purchases — Swapbox alerts you electronically when a package is ready to be picked up at a local retailer outfitted with a Swapbox facility.
The company’s preferred locations are 24-hour drugstores, but other retailers open long hours are also considered.
“Using a Swapbox is as easy as shopping online,” says Neel Murthy, the co-founder and CEO of the firm.
Murthy says he has plans to expand the service into the Big Apple.
“We are working hard to come to New York by the beginning of next year,” he says.
How does the Swapbox service work?
Swapbox kiosks, featuring lockers with electronic locks, are placed in monitored, indoor locations. Users register on the Swapbox Web site, selecting a Swapbox location convenient to them. When users make online purchases using the Swapbox address of their choosing, they receive a code electronically once the package arrives. The user then goes to the kiosk, swipes a credit card and picks up the package.
The first package is free, and there’s a charge of $1.99 per package afterward. There also are monthly rates for those who receive many deliveries.