Amazon Prime Day is fast approaching! The most awaited shopping event takes place for a record 48 hours, from midnight on 15 July, until the end of 16 July.
Millions of customers will be making the most of Amazon’s annual tradition of deals and discounts and it’s over to us to make sure customers choose to collect from Post Office branches, rather than from one of our many competitors.
Other online retailers are keen to get a slice of the action too. eBay for example, are fighting back with their eBay ‘crash sale’. This starts on 1 July and runs until 15 July, which lasts three weeks, leading up to Prime Day and aims to take advantage if Amazon’s systems crash – and they hope to bag some extra sales even if that doesn’t happen.
So, how much of an opportunity is this for Post Office branches?
In 2018, we saw an uplift year on year of around 52% in our sales, a really significant increase. This year, we expect to see even more of an uplift, as the parcels market continues to grow at pace.
The growth in the parcels market and returns in particular is a great opportunity and one of our largest core products as a business. Our unrivalled branch network and the expertise of branch teams means we are well placed to deal with - and benefit from - this increase in volume and to continue giving customers the great service they expect from us.
Local Collect, Royal Mail’s version of Click & Collect services allows customers to pick up their online purchases from your branch, when it suits them. The good news is that it’s getting more and more popular, as online shopping continues to grow in popularity.
Overall in 2018/19, the volume of items collected from Post Office’s using Local Collect grew on the previous year, meeting the need for convenience for millions of customers by allowing them to pick up their items from our unrivalled network of branches across the UK. And at Post Office, Amazon is still our largest customer for Local Collect by far.
Branch teams are better than ever at scanning the items in, with 97.5% scanned in as soon as they arrive in branch.
Soon, hopefully that will reach 100%, so every single customer gets that little text message or email they’ve been waiting for, telling them it’s time to visit their local Post Office to collect their parcel.
The returns market is certainly booming and with Amazon Prime Day, we may see a small boost in parcel volumes outside of the traditional Christmas peak. Returns volumes across the Post Office network are growing significantly as well, with over 20% volume growth overall in returns last year.
This time of year, we tend to see an increase in returns driven by the summer sales period, and Amazon Prime Day gives the booming returns market a bit more of a boost. This year, the 48 hour shopping event may even bring customers through your door for the first time, or for the first time in years.
Research shows most returns customers are likely to return items multiple times a year. Add that to the large, growing parcel volumes and the fact that Post Office branches are customers’ preferred place for returns – and it’s clear that returns are a great business opportunity.
And ultimately, it’s the expertise, local, friendly service and convenience offered by Post Office branches that will keep customers coming back for more.