Post Office announces trial of over 150 new drop off points for home shopping customers



The Post Office has announced a trial of over 150 new drop off points for home shopping customers returning orders using Royal Mail’s pre-paid returns services.  The sites which will commence roll out in the coming weeks are set to make it eveneasier for customers to return orders placed during the peak period for home shopping in the run up to Christmas, the Post Office claims.

The Post Office operates the UK’s largest and most trusted posting, collections and returns network. Through trialling these new drop off points, alongside its current branches, the Post Office said it wants to encourage new customers to use its services by providing even greater convenience and choice as to where and when they return their orders.

In addition to taking returns into one of the Post Office’s 11,500 branches, people will now have the choice to send their returns through these additional drop off points. Making sure they apply the pre-paid Royal Mail returns label provided by the retailer. The new drop off points will be based in existing retail outlets such as garages and convenience stores the majority of which will be open seven days a week.

Through its agreement with Royal Mail the Post Office offers access to the most convenient, trusted and reliable returns service in the UK, the company claims.  In fact almost three quarters (71%) of online shoppers say that the Post Office is their preferred method for returns.

The UK’s Home Shopping Market continues to grow with the value of the e-commerce market expected to increase from £91bn in 2013 to £107bn in 2014, with a trusted returns service being a core element of any online retailers offer.

Martin George, chief commercial officer, Post Office, said: “Around one in ten online orders³ are returned so retailers need to ensure they provide a convenient, easy and reliable returns network. It’s a growing market and one in which the Post Office, through its unrivalled reach, is the market leader.

“We know people want the flexibility to choose where and when they return home shopping orders.  We have the UK’s largest and most trusted returns network. Through trialling these new drop off points we want to make it easier for even more people to access our network by giving greater choice when retuning items.”

The Post Office is changing, undertaking the biggest modernisation programme in retail history and introducing longer opening hours across its network.  Almost 2,000 of its branches are now open on Sundays, and over 5,000 branches offer extended hours for customers totalling an extra 150,000 extra hours a week.

Nick Landon, Managing Director of Royal Mail Parcels, said: “Post Office’s trial supports Royal Mail’s drive to be customer responsive and provide more options for our parcel customers, including online shoppers. Online shoppers want as easy a returns experience as possible and Post Office’s trial provides even greater flexibility for customers to access Royal Mail’s Pre-paid Returns service made available by many online retailers.

How the service works

Customers wishing to use any of these drop off points simply peel off the pre-paid Royal Mail returns label sent with their purchase and stick it on the front of the parcel.

They can drop off the parcel at any of these drop off points (or at any Post Office branch) and pick up a certificate of posting.

Posting, collecting and returning online orders at the Post Office

Post Office is transforming its network and is the number one access point for mail services.  More than 5,000 of its branches offer extended opening hours for home shopping customers. With thousands of branches making it easier for shoppers to collect their shopping on Sundays, and from early in the morning until late in the evening the Post Office is now offering an extra 150,000 opening hours for customers of the Local Collect service.

The Post Office is modernising its range of mail services.  It has introduced over 500 self-service kiosks into its larger branches.

The Post Office and Royal Mail recently announced that its ‘click & collect’ service, Local Collect will be available to 20,000 SME customers. The service enables the UK’s small and medium sized online retailers to offer customers a collection service from any of 10,500 Post Office branches. Over 50,000 SMEs have signed up to the Post Office’s fast track Drop & Go mails service since its launch last year.