Technology trial launches to meet huge growth in demand for parcels

Technology trial launches to meet huge growth in demand for parcels

The holiday, festival and wedding season is fast approaching. Thousands of customers are turning to online shopping, not only to escape the crowds, but to also make best use of further lower prices which are now easily available for many retailers.

According to the Office for National Statistics, UK retail sales overall across the UK fell 0.5% in May, but online sales remained at a record 19.3% in May 2019, up by 8.2% from the same time last year. Online fashion company Boohoo defied a tough retail market in its first quarter after group revenue surged 39% to £254.3m.

High level of choice, convenience and discounts for online shopping is making it one of the fastest growing areas in retail.

Collections and returns is a huge growth area for parcel operators. Customers return more than 90 million items to online retailers every year and by 2025 that’s expected to grow to 250 million returns a year.

Our own results show that we’ve seen over 20% volume growth in returns last year. This is fantastic news, but it’s an incredibly competitive market so we can’t stand still and we must become more customer focused to get ahead of the competition.

Customers are telling us they want quicker, easier and convenient ways of accessing our products and services.

Over the coming months, we'll be trialling new technology for parcel collections and returns in a small number of new locations in Central London, to see if we can win new customers from our key competitors such as CollectPlus, DPD and MyHermes. We’ll also trial the same technology in some of our busiest branches to speed up the process for existing customers, especially in preparation for our peak period in December.

We will test the technology first with colleagues in the customers support centres, starting with Finsbury Dials in London. We will review the trial as it develops, and keep postmasters updated in the coming months.