It’s not so long ago that a missed parcel delivery meant a trip to a slightly forbidding cell in the local sorting office. Here I had to produce the card that had been dropped through my door, which I had usually forgotten, and some incontrovertible proof that I am, indeed, me. It always reminded me of going through Customs. Only stricter.
To avoid this, many people use their work as a place to get parcels delivered. This is all very well until some bright spark decides to have two child seats, a cot and a bunk bed delivered to work, all at the same time. Many bosses are refusing to let their smart reception areas be turned into small distribution centres anymore.
As our Amazon and eBay apps are hammered ever more frequently, a new solution is clearly demanded. Hence the sudden proliferation in parcel pick up points. Argos is the latest high street name to meet the demand. Of course Argos pioneered click and collect for its own stock, but now we can pick up our eBay orders there. Argos is sitting on a large number of stores, so it’s great for the company to help drive footfall there, and good for eBay customers as 650 stores are offering the service. Since canny eBay users will be coming to ParcelHero for the best price and service, we’ll be monitoring how this goes with interest.
You can already order your groceries online from Tesco and Waitrose and have them delivered to a number of TfL Underground stations. Amazon and Transport for London have also announced a deal to open parcel lockers in tube station car parks; the first Amazon Lockers have now been installed at Finchley Central and Newbury Park stations. Doddle, Network Rail’s and Lloyd Dorfman’s £24 million online collection and return service is due to be rolled out to 300 railway stations and transport hubs. Already ASOS and New Look customers can try on clothes and return those that don’t fit (or make their hips look too big) in one visit.
Some industry pundits are predicting click and collect is the death of home delivery. I think stories of its demise are greatly exaggerated. Click and Collect high street points are simply another option for internet shoppers. In the e-tail revolution, the customer really is king; and driving change at an unprecedented level. Everyone involved in the parcels market is learning that, fast.