26 May, 2013
InPost plans to sweep into UK’s box-bank home delivery market
A new name in the UK’s home delivery solutions business, InPost, is gearing up to take the market by storm with a nationwide network of electronic box banks.
The Polish-based group, which currently has a presence in Ireland and fifteen other countries around the world, says it has already installed boxes at its first hundred UK locations, and will have 1,000 in place by the summer and 2,000 by the end of 2013.
Consumers will be able to have home shopping delivered to their chosen box bank for collection at any time to suit them, night or day. They will also be able to despatch returns to retailers.
Local Letterbox brings franchise approach to delivery drop-off networks
A dedicated national network of branded neighbourhood shops concentrating exclusively on home shopping delivery and drop-off and parcel returns is planned by an organisation called Local Letterbox. It is the brainchild of businessman and entrepreneur Nick Davis.
The idea of using dedicated shops rather than convenience stores for dealing with home deliveries is new, and immediately differentiates this initiative from others that have emerged in this field the past decade, including for instance the CollectPlus network and Hermes ParcelShops.
Project manager Peter Robinson told F&E that the network will be carrier-neutral – another differentiating feature – though he says links with a range of carriers will be essential to the proposition, since they are likely to be the ones paying for the service.
ParcelShop hits 1,000 locations, prepares for delivery launch
As new contenders launch themselves into the high-street collection point market, existing operator Hermes reports that it has already passed the target of one thousand locations, which it set when it launched its myHermes ParcelShop network with 500 locations outlets during 2012. The company plans to have at least 2,500 outlets in place by the end of 2013.
Unusually, the company has published details of one group of outlets, which has been provided by Midcounties Co-operative following an agreement between the two companies. The 80 Midcounties stores are predominantly in the Birmingham, Swindon and Oxford areas.
Midcounties’ deputy chief executive, Andy Cresswell, says one of the key attractions was the fact that being part of the network should contribute to increased footfall and a higher basket spend by callers.
UPS launches high-street drop-off network in UK
A network of high-street drop-off points for home shopping deliveries has been launched in the UK by parcel delivery giant UPS, using the brand name UPS Access Point.
Already the company says it has signed up more than 630 outlets, and it plans to have 1,500 in place by June 2013. Eventually there could be up to 4,000.
Underlying the network is technology acquired when UPS bought the Kiala business a year ago. Kiala already had approaching 7,000 retail drop-off outlets in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain.
E-fulfilment market 'worth £2 billion'
The outsourced UK e-fulfilment market in 2012 is estimated to have amounted to around 260 million parcels, and to have been worth £2 billion.
This is the finding of consultancy Sambrook Research International, which says statistical information about this specific sector of the logistics market has previously been hard to obtain. Its research is published in a new report, 3rd Party B2C e-fulfilment market in the UK.
Significantly, the report says that around a dozen fulfilment companies account for about 62 per cent of the entire outsourced e-fulfilment market, handling around 160 million parcels a year among them, and 76 per cent of actual items delivered. A further 55 suppliers handle another 21 per cent.
However, it is a diverse market, and the report says up to 750 smaller suppliers are responsible for delivering 45 million parcels.
It says fashion and clothing represent the largest product group in the e-fulfilment market, and accounted for 70 million parcels in 2012. Next came general merchandise (60 million) and consumer electrical goods (40 million).
An executive summary is available from the consultancy’s web site, www.sambrookresearch.co.uk.
John Lewis extends click and collect service with CollectPlus returns
John Lewis is to offer customers the option of using the CollectPlus network of drop-off points for returning goods bought online. The facility will be available for clothes, shoes and fashion accessories, and will be offered free.
John Lewis is also planning to experiment with allowing outgoing deliveries to be left at CollectPlus outlets for collection by customers. This idea, which is being described as a "click and collect" option, is due to be trialled in Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of south-west England.
It is proposing a £3 fee for this service, and says it will typically take three days to fulfil orders by this route.
The retailer has already launched its own in-house click and collect service, which is available at 234 locations including John Lewis department stores and "At Home" shops and Waitrose branches.
According to Karen Dracou, head of omnichannel development at John Lewis: "Orders using click and collect have nearly doubled over the past year, and accounted for 35 per cent of online sales over the Christmas period, so we know that customers are looking for ever more convenient ways of shopping with us.
"By partnering with CollectPlus, we can extend the existing reach of John Lewis and Waitrose collection points to a wider geographical base."