News Article Royal Mail to roll out Local Collect service for UK's SMEs

Tom Stanley

Royal Mail announced it would be providing the UK’s largest ‘click and collect’ service through a partnership with the Post Office.

Royal Mail to roll out Local Collect service for UK's SMEs

In August, Royal Mail announced it would be providing the UK’s largest ‘click and collect’ service through a partnership with the Post Office.

The new service called Local Collect will enable Royal Mail’s 20,000 SME customers to use 10,500 Post Office branches as a secure parcel collection facility. Across the UK, more than 99% of the population live within a three mile radius of a Post Office branch.

Moreover, Royal Mail’s ‘click and collect’ scheme will enable many of the UK’s leading small and medium size enterprises to offer their customers the option to collect purchases from a Post Office branch.

While home delivery remains the most popular delivery option amongst UK consumers, Royal Mail’s new scheme comes at a time when ‘click and collect’ and third party collection points are growing fast as a delivery channel.

In 2013, approximately 70 million deliveries were made through services similar to Royal Mail’s Local Collect scheme. Moreover, ‘click and collect’ and third party collection points are forecasted to account for 82 million deliveries in 2014 – a 17% increase from the previous year.

The service - which will provide more delivery options for shoppers - is particularly relevant to the consumer, SME, and micro SME market segments.

By developing an application programming interface (API) for Local Collect, and upgrading its despatch management tool, Royal Mail has ensured their new delivery channel offers optimal usability.

The API allows retailers to access information regarding each Post Office branch which is involved in the Local Collect scheme before using the despatch management tool to label and ship the parcel with the Royal Mail.

Once the parcel has arrived at the recipient’s chosen Post Office branch, the customer will receive an SMS / email confirmation notifying them of its arrival.

Online businesses will be able to integrate the API into their website’s checkout page allowing customers to select a Post Office delivery option which is convenient for them.

As part of an ongoing scheme to improve the flexibility of delivery options for those who order goods online, Royal Mail will also be piloting Sunday afternoon openings at around 100 Delivery Offices across the UK from September.

Clearly, Royal Mail’s Local Collect service demonstrates an underlying truism within the UK postal industry – the customer is still king.

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