InPost UK Parcel Lockers

Post and parcel carriers have urged the sector to think about how they continue to ensure they deliver the best service for customers while remaining cost-effective, and to shun alternative delivery methods such as parcel lockers.

Royal Mail Parcels MD Nick Landon told delegates at yesterday’s Mail & Express Delivery Show in London that locker-boxes, like those operated by ByBox and InPost were “too expensive and too immature”.

The general consensus at the show was that most initiatives to tackle failed e-commerce parcel deliveries, such as locker-boxes, ‘click & collect’ and deliveries from retail stores to the consumer, needed more thought.

Locker-box operators claim that the boxes give consumers, such full time workers, an alternative to home delivery, whilst wiping out failed deliveries for the carrier. However, Landon said Royal Mail research showed that the only consumers who preferred the boxes over any other delivery method were males under 30 years old who lived in central London.

Mothercare director of supply chain Walter Blackwood also said that while effective for both the carrier and the retailer, more attention needs to be paid to how these services are going to be supported and maintained. Delivering stock designed for stores straight from the DC to households often did not work, as they were packaged differently. In the case of Mothercare, he added, consumers want an attractively-packaged parcel to give as a gift to a child, which these deliveries rarely offer.

Operators are confident that they can manage the continued rise in e-commerce parcels, but the most cost-effective and consumer-friendly way had not yet been found.