Less than a week after blaming the march of Amazon for the slowdown in its parcels business Royal Mail has jumped into bed with its rival to allow customers to ‘click and collect’ their packages from Post Offices.
In what would appear to be a classic case of “keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer”, Amazon is joining Local Collect, a partnership between Royal Mail and the Post Office, which allows users to choose the most convenient Post Office for a parcel delivery.
Nick Landon, managing director of Royal Mail Parcels, said the partnership will mean Amazon customers have greater control over the delivery of their items. “Royal Mail is developing services and investing in IT solutions to meet the changing demands of online retailers and their customers,” Landon added.
Meanwhile, Post Office chief commercial officer Martin George said the offer was part of the company’s modernisation programme which includes longer opening hours. “Thousands of our branches are now open for longer, often seven days a week,” he said. “As we move into the busy festive period we’re ensuring that it’s never been easier to pick up online shopping at our branches.”
The deal will also boost Royal Mail’s attempts to shore up its parcels division – once seen as the group’s shining star – which has been hit by increased competition.
According to its latest figures, released last week, volumes did rise slightly, up 2%, but revenues fell by 1%, with the postal operator citing “pricing pressure in the highly competitive market”.
The company warned about the slowdown earlier this year, blaming rival carriers “aggressively reducing prices”. It had previously warned on the impact of competition from the likes of Whistl (formerly TNT) but Amazon’s new same-day delivery service – unveiled last month – was singled out by the company.
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