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Volume 21 No. 10
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Panthers install lockers for merchandise pickup

The Carolina Panthers are the first NFL team to test retail lockers as a convenient way for fans to pick up merchandise ordered online.

Delaware North Sportservice, the team’s food and retail provider, has installed 23 lockers next to the team store outside Bank of America Stadium, plus 11 lockers inside the building. Apex Supply Chain Technologies, the firm producing the lockers and the technology behind them, branded the lockers in Panthers colors.

Fans ordering merchandise through the Panthers’ website are given locker pickup as an option on game day or non-game day. For those choosing the option, Sportservice delivers the order to a locker using a bar code, which the retail staff scans, sending a message to the Apex system. The system automatically opens the next available locker. After the merchandise is deposited in the locker, the Apex system sends an email to the customer with pickup instructions and a unique QR code plus a six-digit code. The customer can either scan the QR code or enter the code on the locker’s keypad.

The lockers allow fans to pick up their purchases inside or outside the stadium.
Sportservice installed the lockers in late July and more than 120 orders were picked up through the system in the first month of operation, said Steve Roznow-ski, e-commerce manager. Many orders have been picked up after the team store closes at 4 p.m., he said. There is no additional charge to use the locker delivery.

Parking is restricted around the stadium, and for a growing number of people living and working in uptown Charlotte, the lockers give them the flexibility to pick up orders after they get off work, said Todd Smoots, Sportservice’s on-site general manager.

Sportservice added the Apex lockers in Charlotte shortly before testing the same technology for food pickup at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. At the Reds’ ballpark, the system flows through MLB’s Ballpark mobile application. Branded as Ballpark Express, it went live on Sept. 4, said Chuck Thompson, Apex’s vice president of sales for real-time retail.

Separately, Aramark will use Apex lockers for in-arena retail pickup at Wells Fargo Center this fall after first testing them last season for Flyers and Sixers games in Philadelphia.