As customers increasingly opt for click and collect, retailers are finding that thanks to the vast reach of the Post Office network, Local Collect – Royal Mail’s national click and collect service – helps them to offer more convenience as well as maximise first-time delivery success
With the rapid expansion of online shopping, customers are demanding more choice than ever when it comes to how and when they receive their purchases. One delivery option that more retailers and consumers are starting to appreciate, thanks to the convenience that is provides, is click and collect.
It’s particularly popular among consumers who find it difficult to be at home to accept a delivery. The click and collect market is set to grow 81.9 per cent in the five years to 2019, according to Verdict (August 2014 report).
But in order for click and collect to work, the collection point must be conveniently situated for the customer. Customers also need to be able to choose the “collect” option easily as part of the online checkout process, and they must feel confident their purchases will arrive intact and on time.
Local Collect is available in over 10,500 Post Office branches, providing secure and convenient parcel collection facilities, with 99 per cent of us living within three miles of one
To meet these growing demands, we’ve created Local Collect. A partnership between Royal Mail and the Post Office, it offers online shoppers access to the largest retail network in the UK. Local Collect is available in over 10,500 Post Office branches around the country, with many now open later and on Sundays, providing secure and convenient parcel collection facilities, with 99 per cent of us living within three miles of one.
Customers can simply select Local Collect on the retailer’s website. We’ve made it simple for retailers to offer Local Collect through their website. They can connect seamlessly via our API (application programming interface) or via NetDespatch, a third-party integrator, so their customers can select from the most up-to-date database of Post Office branches.
Local Collect is available at no additional cost. Customers receive an e-mail or SMS notification when their parcel is ready for collection and items can be stored for up to 18 days before being returned to the retailer.
Click and collect is proving to be very popular, but it’s still in its infancy. On the other hand, people have known and trusted Royal Mail and the Post Office for decades, so we can offer the best of both worlds.
According to our 2015 Delivery Matters report, a survey independently conducted by research agency Hall & Partners, nearly half (44 per cent) of online shoppers are more likely to use an online retailer if they deliver direct to a Post Office branch, while three quarters trust the Post Office as an alternative delivery location.
Local Collect customers include Amazon. But it’s also appealing to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and a growing army of eBay power sellers who, among other smaller, ambitious companies, realise that offering customers a variety of flexible, convenient delivery options, including click and collect, is the key to customer engagement and growth. Last summer we announced that we would make Local Collect available to the 20,000 SME customers who we have contracts with.
Local Collect is being introduced against the background of a major modernisation programme at the Post Office that includes the introduction of longer opening hours at thousands of its branches. Over 3,000 Post Office branches have been modernised providing more than 82,000 additional opening hours each week, from early in the morning until well into the evening. Around 4,200 branches are offering these extended hours including weekend opening.
We’ve experienced a great response to Local Collect since we launched it. The retail clients that I’ve been speaking to are telling me that it’s fast, reliable, convenient and secure – a real win-win for fast-growing online retailers of all sizes and their customers.
‘Customers love the choice and they love the opening hours’
Launched six years ago, Perfume Click is a purely online business that offers customers around the UK and beyond more than 7,000 genuine, branded fragrance, beauty, skincare and haircare products.
As is the case with so many small businesses, the company was formed around a dining room table, but now operates 11 European websites, dispatching thousands of products every day from its office and warehouse just outside Manchester. To maintain its position as a successful player in a highly competitive sector, Perfume Click is aware that it has to differentiate itself by providing excellent customer service, as well as an extensive product choice and competitive pricing.
“We decided to offer Local Collect to give a bigger choice to our customers,” says managing director Deane Brooks. “They can either have their purchase delivered to their home or to their local Post Office.” The choice of so many local Post Offices has huge appeal. “The feedback from our customers is that they love the choice and they love the opening hours, especially at Christmas time.
“Integrating the API system from Royal Mail into our own was a seamless operation”, says Mr Brooks.
“The main benefit of Royal Mail Tracked 24 and Royal Mail Tracked 48 is the visibility for our customers and for our customer service staff,” he says. “We can track every parcel from the moment it leaves our warehouse to the time it arrives with the customer. They also get an SMS from Royal Mail and they get an e-mail too. Customers appreciate the e-mail and the SMS messages.
“Our relationship with our account manager is very good. We can just give him a ring or he rings us to see how it’s all going. It’s been fantastic for us.”