Automated Post Office Marks The Rise Of Robotic Retail


Swapbox kiosks around San Francisco allow users to send and receive packages during convenient hours of the day

Simone Spilka
  • 4 august 2014

The introduction of FedEx solved the lag time for postage with same-day shipping across the States. However, the 9-5 time frame associated with shipping packages or receiving deliveries caused major inconvenience for customers using the service. Now, thanks to Swapbox, a startup by Y Combinator alumni Neel Murthy, large lockers installed across the Bay Area have positive implications for consumers who are unavailable during post office hours.

Swapbox is an automated post office where customers can send and receive packages safety and conveniently from kiosks. Users drop off their item to the local Swapbox machine, chose a shipping speed, and enter in a delivery address. The company can also professionally package items and deliver them with a trusted carrier. The specific tracking system ensures shipments arrive safely to its destination. The product, in competition with Amazon’s Locker program and Google’s Bufferbox, eliminates shipping lines and disgruntled packaging.

On the receiving end, online shoppers across all e-commerce platforms can use their local Swapbox address at checkout to pick up their package after hours. The user simply receives a notification that their package has arrived, and are prompted to pick them up at their requested location using a unique PIN. Swapbox users have 24 hours to pick up their package before they are prompted with new options; currently, it averages four hours from the user’s initial notification to their in-person pickup. The service eliminates missing deliveries for customers who cannot compete against work hours to be home for day time drop-offs.

Sensibly, Swapbox functions as a PO Box that exists across multiple, convenient locations. The startup, designed in San Francisco, has installed the lockers in scattered locations around the city including markets, laundromats, gas stations, 7-11s, and cafes.

Swapbox is surprisingly affordable, ranging from just $1.99 per delivery to $14.99 per month for unlimited deliveries. Each shipping option offers a test round for free and the value of anytime pick up.

Swapbox’s existence as an automated system marks the beginning trends of robotic retail.


[h/t] TechCrunch


Lancôme's Newest Campaign Stars A Domestic Abuse Survivor

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Small Urban Pavilions Create A Nature Refuge In East London

These relaxing micro shelters provide a haven amidst chaotic city environments

Travel Yesterday

Travel Laundry Pouch Washes Your Clothes Wherever You Are

The Scrubba Wash Bag helps anyone wash their clothes easily and quickly with just a little water and soap


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Social Media Yesterday

Swipe Up To Register To Vote On Snapchat

The social platform has partnered with TurboVote to help young people easily enroll in less than one minute

Children Yesterday

Battle Card Game Promotes Childhood Vaccinations

An Australian doctor has developed a playful way to inform parents about immunization and entertain kids

Related Expert

Seth Porges

Contextual Closet

Fitness / Sport Yesterday

Oakley And Intel’s Sunglasses Give You A Built-In Personal Trainer Wherever You Go

The sunglasses/earbuds hybrid tracks your performance and lets you know how well your workouts are going

Experiential Marketing Yesterday

UNICEF’s ‘Time Machine’ Tells Stories With Data

An experiential installation at the UN General Assembly reminds us why every child matters

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Watch The World’s Tallest Building Become An LED Display

Burj Khalifa gives a backstage look at how the transformation came to be


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed september 23, 2016

Productivity Expert: The Magic Of The Five-Hour Workday

Stephan Aarstol, Founder of Tower Paddle Boards, explains why the modern notion of office hours needs to evolve

PSFK Labs Yesterday

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

Travel Yesterday

Boeing Wants To Make Your Flight Better With Cloud And Star Projections

The manufacturer is trying to patent a projection system that would allow them to project images onto a plane's interior surfaces

Latin America Yesterday

Colombians Teach Dance To Fund Students’ Education

Chocó to Dance is a platform that shows you how to replicate popular Latin dances to help create scholarships for local students

Work Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: What A People-First Workplace Must Prioritize First

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX on why employee fulfillment is a journey and not a destination

Culture Yesterday

Brand Engagement At The Gates Of The World’s Largest Open-Air Gallery

Tiger Beer and a neighborhood-minded nonprofit celebrate and promote New York's creative spirit by beautifying 100 security gates


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Technology Yesterday

How Technology Can Save The World By Saving Time

PSFK attends the Social Good Summit 2016 to see how new tech is changing the world for the better

Travel Yesterday

Marriott’s Gravity Room Installation Gives Travelers A New Perspective

The luxury hotel chain's #MGravityRoom invites visitors to snap and share pictures of its inverted set up

No search results found.