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How Stamp Free can drive self service out-of-home adoption

The out-of-home (OOH) parcel delivery market in the UK has grown significantly in recent years, largely due to the rise in e-commerce and online shopping. According to a report by Pitney Bowes, parcel volumes in the UK increased by 13.7% in 2018, with 2.5 billion parcels delivered. This trend has continued in subsequent years, with parcel volumes reaching record highs in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to grow.

In addition, there has been a shift towards same-day and next-day delivery options, which has led to increased demand for OOH parcel delivery services such as parcel lockers, collection points, and parcel shops. This has been facilitated by major players in the market who have invested in expanding their network of delivery locations and improving their delivery infrastructure.

For busy consumers who want the convenience of managing online returns around working, shopping or playing, OOH parcel services are a convenient and secure way to send back returns without worrying about missing deliveries or package theft. And with online retail continuing to boom, +52% in 2021 vs. 2019 according to a Statista report, OOH services, are a main focus of the postal and logistics sector.

The growth in focus on out-of-home solutions can be seen with almost constant industry announcements; InPost have recently reached the milestone of 5000 lockers in the UK and in Germany Deutsche Post DHL continue to roll out their carrier agnostic lockers across the country’s train station network.

And OOH solutions are good for the environment too. In Vinted’s first Climate Impact Report published this month it clearly demonstrates the reduced impact of carbon emissions when PUDOs are used.

Whilst growth in locker proliferation across the UK is enabling more convenient access to out-of-home services and a positive impact on the environment, technology advances are making OOH simpler to use. Quadient’s recent announcement of its new Drop Box and Printer capability is just one of the many innovations being invested in the out-of-home experience for customers.

However, there are limitations with label printing technology embedded within lockers. We have all had experience of printers jamming or running out of ink just when you need them the most. If this happens at an unmanned locker, there isn’t any option but to take your parcel or return elsewhere. Printers are also very susceptible to temperature and with the extremes in the climate day to day in the UK, printer robustness may be an issue, notwithstanding the regular maintenance required to keep a 24/7 proposition working.

And whist there are some label free locker solutions on the market these are limited to returns only, not outbound parcels. Stamp Free offers completely label free solutions for customers for both returns and outbound parcels and, as the parcel is permanently tagged with an ID, using our Stamp Free Code the parcel can always be identified and traced. The existing QR code approach currently used by some means that parcels do not have any identifier on them. This exposes the over-labelling process to human errors, where the wrong label is applied which causes significant issues for the customer and carrier as it is very difficult to rectify downstream. The Stamp Free Code written on every parcel removes this risk because it can be traced back to the sending customer. Using Stamp Free technology also provides the carrier with complete flexibility on where and when they over-label. For example, it can be performed back at the depot, reducing the cost and avoiding label handling issues seen today.

With a smartphone generated Stamp Free Code customers can drop off in seconds, avoid queues and inconsistent opening times and enjoy the convenience of no label printing at home or at the locker.

And we know that this is what customers want. From our research, a huge 86% of consumers responded that they would rather have no labels at all on parcels and returns, 69% find printing labels at home or at lockers frustrating and 49% stating that their biggest bugbear when returning a parcel in particular is the label.

With Stamp Free Codes, all these headaches go away.

Get in touch today, or come and see us at Leaders in Logistics 28-29 March 2023, to find out how Stamp Free can power your OOH experience.