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The industry has been investing huge amounts of money in what is known as “Out of home” (OOH) offerings (lockers and parcel shops to you and me). There are good reasons for this. It helps to reduce carrier costs as they consolidate delivery points, there’s the sustainability angle as fewer miles are covered for the same parcel volumes, and finally the more drop-off / collection points available the more convenience is created for the customer. 

At the Parcel & Post EXPO last week, we witnessed first-hand the huge number of locker providers now vying for this market. There’s lots of innovation too. The advent of battery powered lockers, such as YEEP!, will see a step-change in proliferation. Vault Group in South Africa have launched a new locker offering, with LED screens across the whole front face. This enables them to build in an advertising revenue stream which could well make many locker locations commercially viable without necessarily the parcel traffic.  

The UK Post Office has just announced a new major milestone in its journey, incorporating DPD and Evri into their services. Along with their existing commercial relationship with Royal Mail and Amazon this pretty much sews up the UK parcel network, making them (once again) a key player in OOH services. 

But all of this investment does not make the consumer use these services. With many of us working from home on a full-time or part-time basis, having items delivered and collected from the doorstep is just plain easier. Therefore, the case for making a trip to an OOH location must tick the convenience and/or added-value boxes.  

From a consumer standpoint the lack of consolidation is also a frustration. When buying online it is often the retailer that decides the carrier (and accompanying out of home service). So just to purchase or return a parcel means that we all have to navigate multiple apps, varying delivery options, and of course different standards of communication and service.  

So the question is, are we just really seeing more of the same, or is the industry lacking innovation in this space? 

Stamp Free’s mission is to address these issues, and ultimately help carriers and postal providers realise their significant investments in OOH, increasing footfall and utilisation rates.  

So, how do we do this?  

Utilising Artificial Intelligence, we make the consumer’s life super-easy with sending / returning parcels without labels, all through millennial-friendly smartphone solutions. We can even do this using WhatsApp as a ubiquitous global platform, with 3bn users utilsing our AppFreeTM product. We can make parcel shops a more attractive proposition by creating self-serve options at a low cost that make parcel drop-off amazingly quick. If it’s easy, more people will use it. Plus a consumer will have more free time within the shop that increases the opportunity to cross-sell. We can save carriers significant costs and reputational issues too associated with over-labelling errors (created by the use of QR codes) when at an OOH location.  

Our multi-carrier multi-retailer Label Free and WhatsApp AppFreeTM offerings focus entirely on customer convenience. Utilising AI, we provide the industry with much needed innovative solutions that propel their existing OOH services to the next level.