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 How Our Smart Locker Startup Grew 2.000% During the Pandemic

How Our Smart Locker Startup Grew 2.000% During the Pandemic

João Lopes

Founder & COO at Bloq.it

joao_lopes_blog

Around two months ago I got an invite…

For the past weeks Bloq.it had been communicating with relevant media outlets, about our progress as a smart locker startup and results.

The invite was to give an interview to one of the major news radio stations in Portugal, TSF Radio Noticias. We scheduled a date and around two weeks later, I was able to talk about the progress of Bloq.it during the last few months.

Few weeks have passed by and on the 27th of May, driving home after performing a routine check-up on our lockers at Colombo Shopping Mall (Lisbon, Portugal), I tune in on TSF radio frequency and I listen, for the first time, to the final version of the interview I had given.


The main highlight: how we grew over 2.000% since the pandemic had started to hit Europe, and Portugal, around March 2020.

And the great question arises: How did we do it?

I went over the whole process during the interview, sadly, due to the short air time we were restricted to, the final version didn’t include that story, therefore, I will take the chance to quickly explain the main points.

Bloq.it – A brief tale about our beginnings as a smart locker startup

Our business started in early 2019 – our goal was to place Cacifos Inteligentes in beaches, controlled by a mobile app, inspired by the likes of Lime and Bird – and so we did.

A few months later, around late-summer time, we launched our service.  Summer ended and we started trying to understand where else our lockers could fit.


We went to shopping malls, events, and music festivals, still on a B2C model, while this was happening, we kept developing our technology and we slowly started to realize we were becoming the best and most complete solution in the market.

Not long after, the pandemic hits – there are restrictions, and the tourism and live event industry shut down completely. So what now?

Well, we took a look at what we had, we listened to the market trends and realized where our solution fitted.

And there we went from a provider of a service to a smart locker startup, providing this solution to others.

smart locker startup
Although we’re a startup, we also work with other startups – one of them from the Netherlands in this picture.

Who needs smart lockers, and our technology?

As a smart locker startup, we were already aware of the use of Smart Lockers in the logistics sector, and also in Retail, as an upgrade to Click & Collect operations.

Logistics?
Booming during the pandemic, as people are forced to order goods to avoid social contact. 

Retail?
Struggling, but in need of new solutions to keep people able to shop while keeping social distance.

Our solution?
Fits both – so we double down. Developing and adapting our solution for such use-cases, and marketing our new positioning in the market.

Not long after, we closed our first large B2B deal, with SONAE Sierra, to provide an agnostic click & collect service for all their stores located in their malls.

These lockers, placed in the parking malls, allowed small stores, and loyal consumers to keep buying items, without even having to enter the shopping mall.

I was proud to be able to help small businesses and consumers during such a troubled period.

Soon after getting this validation, we started communicating more clearly our solution to these industry segments, and it didn’t take long until we started closing deals in both sectors, as our revenue kept on growing.

And that’s how we grew and became the fastest-growing smart locker startup: we realized our situation, we took a deep look into the market and we quickly adapted.

Once we tasted blood, we bit harder.

My name is João Lopes, and I’m one of the founders at Bloq.it, we’re a smart locker startup. If you want to read more of my essays, follow me on Linkedin.