Royal Mail, working with the Post Office, is planning to launch the UK’s largest click and collect network to support online shopping growth by providing greater choice of convenient parcel delivery options for online retailers and their customers.
The Post Office claims to have the largest retail network in the UK, making its stores ideal locations to provide convenient, secure parcel collection facilities. Ninety nine per cent of the population is reported to live within three miles of a Post Office branch. Around 10,500 Post Offices will be taking part in the initiative which will enable online retailers to offer shoppers the opportunity to order items for collection at their local branch.
The Post Office said it is modernising its network. More and more of its branches are opening for longer and more than 4,000 will offer access to items ordered through click and collect outside the usual Post Office opening hours. With many branches open seven days a week, the Post Office said its network can offer even greater convenience for customers collecting their online shopping.
Nick Landon, managing director of Royal Mail parcels, said: “Royal Mail is a key partner for online retailers and we are well placed to benefit from the growth in e-retailing. Home shoppers already love our services. The click and collect initiative will help online retailers give shoppers even greater control over the delivery of their items. We are committed to developing services to ensure we meet the changing demands of online retailers and their customers.”
Martin Moran, commercial director, Post Office, said: “With the largest retail network across the UK the Post Office offers the most convenient collection point, wherever people live or work. We are modernising our branches to make it as easy as possible for customers to access our services. With many of branches now open for longer the Post Office’s unrivalled network provides an ideal location for online shoppers to collect their purchases at a time and place which suits them best.”
Responding to online shopping market growth
E-retailing continues to grow and online sales increased by 14.9% to £31.1bn in 2012, representing 10.6% of total retail sales. By 2017 online will account for 15% (£50bn) of all retail expenditure (Source: Verdict UK Retail Review and Sector Forecasts to 2017).
Royal Mail said its position as the UK’s universal service provider, alongside its strong brand, extensive networks and high quality of service, makes it well placed to benefit from its leading position in the rapidly growing parcels market. A recent survey found Royal Mail is the most trusted delivery company in the UK, the company reports. Seventy six per cent of people are more likely to use a particular retailer again if they deliver through Royal Mail.
Royal Mail said it is committed to providing a range of options to enhance delivery convenience and choice for online shoppers. Delivery to home, or to a neighbour for safekeeping, remains the preference for the vast majority of customers and we expect this to continue to be the case. For others, click and collect from a local Post Office branch will provide a convenient alternative delivery option.
The rapidly expanding parcels market is at the centre of Royal Mail’s growth strategy. Parcels already account for nearly half of Group revenues and it is targeting growth across all four of its parcels networks: the core Royal Mail network which handles the vast majority of parcels we carry, an express delivery service Parcelforce Worldwide, theRoyal Mail Specialist Services network and GLS, the European parcels network.
Providing the UK’s largest click and collect network
Royal Mail said it is currently talking to a number of large online retailers about integrating this service into their websites later this year. Royal Mail plans to extend the service to smaller retailers in 2014.
Click and collect enables shoppers to choose a location for an item to be delivered to, for collection at their convenience. It is the latest addition to the company’s range of convenient delivery options that shoppers can choose from to receive items bought online.