Royal Mail is to use the Post Office network to launch the UK’s largest “click and collect” network, to take advantage of online shopping growth.
It will operate from some 10,500 Post Offices nationwide. Royal Mail reckons 99 per cent of the UK’s population lives within three miles of a Post Office branch.
The Verdict UK Retail Review and Sector Forecasts to 2017 reports that online sales increased by 14.9 per cent to £31.1bn in 2012, representing 10.6 per cent of total retail sales, and that by 2017 they will account for 15 per cent (£50bn) of all retail expenditure.
Having made the parcels market the centre of its growth strategy, Nick Landon, managing director of Royal Mail Parcels, said: “The click and collect initiative will help online retailers give shoppers even greater control over the delivery of their items.”
The Post Office’s commercial director, Martin Moran, added: “We are modernising our branches to make it as easy as possible for customers to access our services.
“With many of our branches now open for longer, the Post Office’s unrivalled network provides an ideal location for online shoppers to collect their purchases at a time and place which suits them best.”
Royal Mail is now making a number of agreements with online retailers which could see its click and collect service integrated into their web sites later this year.
The company plans to extend the service to smaller retailers in 2014.