The bookstore at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) is a busy place. Founded in 1962, the Edmonton-based school is a leading Canadian polytechnic, delivering education in science, technology and the environment, as well as business, health and skilled trades.
With a current enrollment of just over 40,000 students in more than 90 credit programs, the bookstore offers everything from textbooks and other learning materials to apparel and electronics, available for purchase in-store or online.
Previously, students had to choose between picking up their order during limited store hours, or paying a shipping fee to have items delivered home.
“The bookstore is only open from 8:30 to 3:30, Monday to Friday,” explains Alyssa Huebl, Web and Mail Order Rep at NAIT. “Many of our students work alongside being in school, others take evening classes, so it’s challenging for them to make it into the store. And nobody likes paying for shipping fees. We wanted a better solution.”
NAIT installed a block of Snaile smart lockers in a central location on main campus in early 2021. The system is integrated with the bookstore’s ordering system, giving students the option to select a ‘compartment pickup’ at check-out for no extra fee.
The bookstore deposits orders into the smart lockers on a daily basis, with students receiving a text notification with a unique PIN or QR code they can use for retrieval at a time that’s convenient. The Snaile system makes it easy for the store to monitor when lockers have been cleared. “If something hasn’t been picked up after a full week, we’ll bring it back to the bookstore and let the student know,” Huebl says.
“Almost anything students can order from the bookstore, they can have dropped off in the lockers for pickup,” says Huebl.
The solution caught on quickly, with around half of the lockers in daily use during the academic year. “During convocation, we filled all the lockers two or three times a day. Everyone was using them to pick up their grad gowns,” she says. “It’s been easy for people to understand how the system works.”
“Snaile lockers have been a great way for us to offer students the option to pick up their books in a central location, before or after their class, without having to make a special trip to the bookstore.”
~ Alyssa Huebl, Web and Mail Order Rep, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology