Collect+ and InPost: intriguing UK PUDO market developments…

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At the Metapack Delivery Conference on Tuesday two notable UK parcel shop and locker tie-ups were discussed: between Collect+ and eBay, and InPost and Hermes.

Collect+ won eBay as its first customer (for the new operation run by PayPoint as opposed to the original Collect+ which has now been absorbed by Yodel, but with both continuing to use the same locations and the Collect+ brand). This led to 2,500 of the 7,200 Collect+ locations becoming eBay click and collect sites in November – alongside the existing 1,000 Argos and Sainsbury’s locations eBay already had.

From the Collect+ point of view the eBay relationship is significant because it fulfils its intention of going multi-carrier at a single stroke – given that eBay shipments could be handled by any carrier in the market. This makes Collect+ the most open network in the UK. It expects to handle 23m parcels this year. eBay would account for a large proportion of that, although there was also talk of another carrier having reached agreement in January.

eBay was impressed that the roll-out to all stores had been accomplished within 4 weeks. It also revealed how much its business had changed from the original peer-to-peer model with 80% of sales being new items and 90% offering free delivery. Both free delivery and PUDOs form part of its delivery promise which is that it aims for all items it sells to have the following:
A free shipping option
A fast / premium option
To be returnable
A click and collect option

eBay also emphasised that it felt that putting its branding in some of the Collect+ stores, as it has done, was a significant first step for the company.

No less interesting was InPost and Hermes announcing that some InPost lockers were to become Hermes locations as Hermes replaces DHL and DX as its transport provider.

This appears to be a closer relationship than InPost had with its previous transport partners. We understand that Hermes has selected lockers to join its network which filled in gaps where it does not have parcel shop coverage but has chosen not to use the ones that are close to its existing parcel shops. Hermes only recently in-sourced transport to its own parcel shops (from City Sprint) so this suggests that the in-house operation is going well.

I have to confess my first question when the relationship was explained to me was did it make Hermes a potential acquirer for InPost’s UK network? Who knows, but this deal may make that a more likely outcome.

The development of, and issues around, the growth of parcel shop and locker networks in the UK, across Europe and globally are discussed in depth in our report on the area: Global Parcel Shops and Locker Networks: Market Insight Report 2018

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