Royal Mail expands click and collect service to include SMEs
Royal Mail is to make its Local Collect click and collect Post Office service available to 20,000 small and medium sized businesses.
The service will enable online SMEs to offer shoppers the option of collecting goods from any one of the 10,500 Post Office branches.
As part of its investment in new IT systems, Royal Mail has also developed its ‘Local Collect’ application programme interface and upgraded its despatch management tool for SME retailers. The API allows retailers direct access to the details of all Post Offices, before labelling and shipping the parcel through the Royal Mail parcel despatch management tool they use. It also enables online retailers to integrate the service in to their website and checkout processes for shoppers to select a Post Office convenient to them.
The service is available on Royal Mail Tracked and Special Delivery Guaranteed enabling parcels to be tracked through to delivery at the recipient’s chosen Post Office. On delivery to the nominated Post Office branch, parcels are scanned as delivered, triggering an SMS/email confirmation to the customer.
The moves are part of Royal Mail’s ongoing plans to bolster its parcel service as it looks to benefit from shoppers’ growing appetite for click and collect. According to research by Verdict, 82 million deliveries will be made through click and collect and third party collection points this year, which is a 17% increase on last year. In addition, Verdict forecasts that the value of the click and collect and third party collection points channel is set to grow by 112% from £3 billion in 2013 to £6.5 billion in 2018.
Paul Brown, head of commercial development Post Office, said: “The Post Office offers the largest and most convenient network for posting, collecting and returning parcels, and we’re changing to make it easier for customers to access our services.
“Thousands of our branches are now able to offer collection services on Sundays and from early morning until late at night, offering an extra 150,000 opening hours to customers using the Local Collect service. We’re delighted that even more SMEs can now take advantage of this service.”
Royal Mail Group’s express parcels business, Parcelforce Worldwide, started to deliver seven days a week at the end of June when it launched Sunday deliveries. Separately, Royal Mail will pilot Sunday afternoon opening at around 100 delivery offices across the UK and Sunday deliveries to addresses within the M25 motorway from September.
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