Explosive ecommerce growth has led Singapore to give the green light to a pilot scheme of parcel collection terminals which will start to spring up in accessible locations around the island at the start of 2013.
As ecommerce continues to increase in popularity, shoppers have to collect more packages sent by online retailers who either offer their own delivery services or have long-standing partnerships with private delivery service providers such as Rapid Parcel to make packaging and postage affordable to the customer.
SingPost spokesperson Patsie Tan said: “As most people are not at home in the day to receive their parcels, this initiative offers them greater convenience and flexibility for they can self-collect 24/7. They do not have to sit at home to wait for the parcel.”
As we become more used to ordering online, the number of packages we receive on a regular basis builds up. This isn’t much of a consideration for people who work from home or have a friend or family member staying in the house during the day. However, for many professionals working regular hours away from home, this can prove to be something of an inconvenience.
Packages that won’t fit through the door or require a signature upon collection are common. For many, the solution is to order the delivery to come to their place of work, though many employers are uncomfortable with this (for security reasons, etc). Others allow their neighbours to hold the package for them until they get home.
Each method has its drawbacks or inconveniences. This conundrum has given rise to the innovation of the parcel collection terminal. Each terminal is a holding place where parcels can be delivered and stored, awaiting collection. The advantage that these terminals have over regular postal service depots is that the customer can collect their parcel at any time, simply by finding their assigned locker and entering a numeric code into the terminal’s touchscreen display. Customers will have received the code previously from their parcel delivery provider, via email or text.
This makes a well-placed collection terminal a much quicker and more convenient collection option for online shoppers who want to collect their purchases on route from the office. As Singapore experiments with this innovative idea, there are increasing calls for a similar system to be extensively trialled in London. Postal depots are often in inconvenient, non-central locations, meaning that London workers often have to go out of their way to make a collection, wasting time and money travelling to get there.
With collection terminals at well-chosen locations, customers would have the ability to choose their time to pick up their goods without the hassle of battling through traffic, crowds or public transport. Industry analysts will be looking on at Singapore’s experiment with interest and drawing parallels to the situation here in the UK. In an assessment of the challenges and opportunities facing UK postal services, an independent review suggested that the burgeoning ecommerce market offers an irresistible opportunity to mail delivery service providers, saying:
“Carriers which are able to capitalise on the opportunities that ecommerce present are more likely to prosper.”
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