Doddle, an online shopping collection and returns service, is set to open in 300 new locations in the next three years, creating 3,000 jobs.
Further to the pilot store in Milton Keynes station, Doddle shops will open at London Waterloo (which last year enjoyed a footfall in excess of 100 million), Bromley South, Brighton, Chelmsford and London Cannon Street.
Doddle, a £24m joint venture between Network Rail and Lloyd Dorfman, allows customers to choose how, when and where they send, return and receive parcels. Open seven days a week, early until late, Doddle shops are staffed and many will have changing rooms.
There is a web site and notifications service through SMS and email.
Tim Robinson, chief executive at Doddle, said: “We offer a premium service with contemporary shops, advanced technology and highly trained staff delivering a dedicated customer experience.
“It is the next major step in online shopping, providing a parcel collection, returns and delivery service that has customer choice and convenience at its very heart. What’s more, we are delivery carrier and retailer agnostic so any brand can offer the Doddle service to their customers.”
Doddle reckons that 59 per cent of British consumers, equivalent to 30 million, now use click and collect but they would be more likely to use the service if there was a more convenient method of making returns.
“More people are travelling by rail than ever before and stations have become more than just a place to wait for, or get off a train,” said Robin Gisby, Network Rail’s managing director, network operations .
“Introducing Doddle to stations will enable us to reinvest our profits back into the railway and is a natural next step to help passengers and people who work and live near stations, whose lives are increasingly busy and on the move.”
Doddle is an independent, standalone limited company, with Network Rail and Lloyd Dorfman holding equal majority shareholdings. The company is partnering with some of the nation’s biggest retailers including ASOS and New Look.