Royal Mail to launch international tracked and signed service for exporting SMEs

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Royal Mail is launching an International Tracked and Signed delivery service for businesses and individuals posting to 43 destinations worldwide.

The new combined end to end tracking and signature capture on delivery service is said to be part of Royal Mail’s improved and simplified range of international services, developed to help online retailers better meet the delivery needs of overseas shoppers ordering goods from the UK.

New international product portfolio

From 31 March 2014, customers posting items abroad will be able to choose from five simple outbound products that provide greater clarity of the service provided. They are:

  • Tracked and Signed: a new, premium service providing end-end tracking with signature on delivery. This service is available to 43 countries worldwide
  • Tracked: provides tracking from arrival at UK mail centre to arrival at destination country. This service is available to 33 countries worldwide
  • Signed: provides signature capture on delivery. This service is available to 190 countries worldwide
  • Parcels and Mail: standard service with the option of two delivery speeds. This service is available to 269 countries worldwide
  • Returns: parcel returns service available to 26 countries covering most of Europe, plus New Zealand

Royal Mail has also expanded the availability of tracking to customers posting to an additional 12 countries. These include: Iceland, Greece, Hungary, South Korea, Thailand, India (Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai) and the Cayman Islands, through the International Tracked and International Tracked and Signed Services.

Targeting new international markets

Recent research from Royal Mail revealed that 68% of UK SME e-retailers who export will be targeting new international markets to help them to expand in 2014.

The USA is the top country being targeted for growth in 2014, the study found. One quarter (26%) of UK SME online e-retailers surveyed said USA is a country they do not currently sell to which they will be targeting this year.

The second most popular target is Canada, with one in five (20%) of exporters planning to expand there this year. Closer to home, nine per cent of UK SME online retailers who export will target Germany and Russia, while Spain (seven per cent) and France (six per cent) are also part of their expansion plans.

Further afield, Australia will be targeted by 6% of exporters planning growth and China by 4%. Despite football World Cup fever spreading across South America in the summer, only 3% of UK SME online retailers who don’t currently trade in Brazil plan to ramp up their sales efforts there this year.

The study also found that UK online retailers who export are planning a range of tactics to meet their international growth expectations. Specifically:

  • Improved online search activities are being planned for around four in 10 SME online retailers with growth plans
  • 32% are planning to develop a website with the domain address of the country they are targeting
  • One in five (21%) are planning targeted direct mail campaigns to win new business.

Mark Thomson, managing director of Royal Mail International, said: “The growth in international online retailing demonstrates that consumers are willing to search the globe for the goods they want at the price they are willing to pay, and that includes from the UK. 

“Royal Mail continues to play its part supporting UK e-retailers to improve the online shopping experience for overseas customers. The buying customer wants a good, reliable and transparent global delivery experience. We have responded by increasing our global tracking capability and by simplifying our product range, enabling customers to choose the best service to meet their needs.”