Doddle, the new parcel collection and delivery service located at railway stations and major hubs across Britain, has announced that it will open at 300 new locations within the next three years, creating over 3,000 new jobs. It follows the successful pilot of the service at Milton Keynes by Network Rail employees from its nearby national centre and local businesses such as Santander.
With immediate effect Doddle will operate as in independent, standalone limited company, with Network Rail and Lloyd Dorfman holding equal majority shareholdings. Dorfman is best known for creating the Travelex Group which is now the world’s largest non-bank foreign exchange business.
Leading online fashion retailer ASOS is to be one of the early adopters of the service, initially offering it for returns to over 40,000 customers in the Milton Keynes region. Others include: New Look, the leading multi-channel fast fashion retailer; Countrywide Farmers, the country and equestrian clothing specialist; and TM Lewin, the stylish business wear specialist who is using Doddle to sit alongside its existing click & collect and next day delivery services.
The first five new Doddle shops will be at London Waterloo (which last year enjoyed a footfall in excess of 100 million), Bromley South, Brighton, Chelmsford and London Cannon Street. They will be located in dedicated retail units within the stations or within built–to-order facilities. Open seven days a week, early until late, they will fit with people’s busy lifestyles and enable them to choose exactly how, when and where they send, return and receive parcels. There is an easy-to-use website and notifications through SMS and email.
The business will be headed up by Tim Robinson, who was previously route managing director, Sussex at Network Rail and has been responsible for driving the development of the Doddle concept within the business. He is joined by Peter Louden as COO who has been project director at Doddle since its inception in 2013, and Adam Lauffer as CFO, a former commercial director at Monetise.
Robinson said: “Doddle was created to capitalise on the booming online retail market and the increasing demands by customers for more convenient delivery solutions. It offers a premium service that is unique in the marketplace with dedicated and stylish shops, advanced technology and highly trained staff delivering a high-end customer experience. It is the next major step in the online shopping phenomenon, providing a parcel collection, returns and delivery service that has customer choice and convenience at its very heart.”
Robin Gisby, Network Rail’s managing director, network operations, said: “More people are travelling by rail than ever before and stations have become more than just a place to wait for, or get off a train. We’ve adapted to passengers’ changing needs and now offer quality retail, food and drink at our biggest stations, such as London Waterloo.
“Introducing Doddle to stations will enable us to reinvest our profits back into the railway and is a natural next step to help passengers and people who work and live near stations, whose lives are increasingly busy and on the move.”
The Doddle service is claimed to be the only one of its kind that is available to every retailer, e-tailer, parcel carrier and shipper, creating a network of single points for the collection, return and sending of parcels. This open access approach will not only enable retailers and carriers to enhance and complement their existing delivery offering, but also allow the consumer to combine collections and returns from multiple retailers into one trip at a time that suits them or coincides with an already planned journey.