Royal Mail is stepping up its assault on the home shopping parcels market by offering its Parcel Collect service – which sees posties collect up to five packages a day from customers’ doorsteps – free of charge until May.
The collection service launched in October 2020 and at the time it was hailed as the biggest change to Royal Mail since 1852.
It allows customers to have pre-paid packages collected from their doorstep for a charge of 72p, or 60p for returns but is now being offered “gratis” in an effort to further boost take-up of the service.
The company is estimated to have about 20% of the nationwide parcels market and the service has a long way to go before it eats into rival offerings.
Royal Mail said that about a million parcels had been picked up using the scheme since launch; rival Hermes claims to have picked 10 million parcels in December alone.
Royal Mail chief commercial officer Nick Landon said: “Parcel Collect is part of our commitment to continuously make our services more convenient as we re-invent the way we deliver to and from our customers. The promotion is an opportunity for all consumers across the UK to try out this service free.”
The move follows plans to start trials of Sunday parcel deliveries, while during lockdown Royal Mail said it has “processed unprecedented parcel volumes”, breaking records by delivering nearly 500 million parcels in the last quarter of 2020.
Earlier this month, the postal giant revealed that it was not only benefitting from the online shopping surge but also witnessing a resurgence in direct mail, business mail and even stamped mail as consumers fall back in love with the humble letter.
In an unscheduled move, Royal Mail upgraded its revenue forecast for the second time in less than a month, reporting it now expects sales to be £900m higher than last year – at around £8.6bn – and, for the entire group, adjusted operating profits will hit around £700m, compared with £325m a year ago.
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