The Post Office has signed its first agreement in its 360-year history with an external courier firm to allow customers to collect parcels from its branches.
Courier giant DPD will now be able to leave packages at the Post Office from next week, offering the click-and-collect service to 250 branches by the end of the month and at 1500 sites before the Christmas holidays.
Bosses at the Post Office hope to cash in on the growth in click-and-collect services during the Covid-19 pandemic, having previously only allowed Royal Mail parcels to be collected from branches.
They also believe that, with employees returning to offices, click-and-collect services could remain strong, with people heading to Post Offices near their workplaces when no longer at home for deliveries.
Post Office chief executive Nick Read said: “Combining the biggest physical retail network with one of the Europe’s best-known logistical carriers provides greater customer convenience, footfall for postmasters, and helps people back to the high street as Covid-19 restrictions ease.
“I’m delighted that, through our partnership with DPD, customers can select their local Post Office to collect their parcels and know that they are often open longer hours, staffed by a knowledgeable postmaster and located moments from where they live.”
According to the Post Office, click-and-collect services increased 14% year on year.
DPD chief executive Elaine Kerr said: “This is a significant, long-term partnership between two brand leaders in the parcel industry and comes at a time when the convenience of online shopping and delivery is more valued than ever.
“This partnership enables us to offer more options at the point of purchase, while the parcel is in-flight and on those occasions when we can’t leave a parcel safely.”
Bosses also said the deal will help reduce both companies’ carbon footprint, with vans no longer having to make multiple stops to drop off parcels, while at the same time encouraging people to return to their local high street on foot.
According to DPD, there is an average reduction of 63% in greenhouse gases when using click and collect compared with home deliveries.