Ian Caminsky, CEO at InPost UK, gives Post&Parcel a preview of the company’s expansion plans.
For busy people, time is priceless. They buy online because they don’t want to lose precious hours or minutes trudging around shops and queueing at the counter. So they clearly won’t want to waste whole days waiting at home for their parcels or driving to out-of-way depots to pick up their failed deliveries (and ending up in a queue after all!).
Automated parcel lockers have been designed to cut through all that time wasting; and InPost has been refining its technology so the access procedure takes just seven seconds.
In just a few years, InPost has built a UK-wide network of almost 1,100 parcel lockers.
“Over the next three to six months, we will be installing 300 more locker facilities,” Caminsky reports, “and in nine months’ time the full UK network will have more than 1,600 sites.”
As Post&Parcel has been reporting over the past few months, InPost has been driving the roll-out further through some interesting new partnerships. Lockers are now appearing at London Underground tube stations – courtesy of a tie-up with Transport for London (TfL) – as well as more rail stations and supermarkets. In March, for example, InPost announced an agreement with Morrisons which will eventually lead to a locker facility at every branch nationwide.
“We are focusing on delivering an excellent density in urban areas,” explains Caminsky, “and our ultimate goal is to be able to say that if you live in the UK, you will only be five or ten minutes away from an InPost locker.
“In general, that will be a five or ten-minute drive; but in dense urban areas we are talking ‘walking time’.”
The network expansion is bringing lockers ever closer to the people and, importantly, fitting in with their lifestyles.
As Caminsky explains: “It’s not just a case of logging someone’s postcode and finding a locker close to their home. We now use three markers: home, work and a place you go to frequently; this could be a gym or a supermarket, for example. Then we can triangulate to find the location which is most convenient to you.”
The journey to the locker is becoming ever quicker and convenient; and when you get there, Caminsky says, you can access your parcels in just seven seconds.
“All our lockers are located in safe areas outside buildings, so you can use them 24/7 and the access system is simple, quick and secure. And they are purpose built for quick collection,” Caminsky adds. “You don’t have the queueing and waiting that you would probably have to endure at an in-store Click & Collect counter.”
In addition to the continuing roll-out of the physical network, InPost has been extending its partnerships with online retailers offering the lockers as both collection and return points for their customers. “Over the next few weeks,” says Caminsky, “we will be launching more Tier 1 retailers – from the world of fashion and other categories.”
So, that’s more users, more retailers – and InPost is also wooing more carriers.
InPost’s four main carriers at the moment are – in alphabetical order – APC, DHL, DX and UK Mail. However, Caminsky says that the company is always talking with all the major carriers and its objective is to be a “carrier-agnostic” system.
“We believe that lockers can satisfy everyone in the e-commerce ecosystem,” concludes Caminsky.
“For the customer, they offer a fast, convenient, and always available way to get their parcels; for the retailers, lockers strengthen their relationship with the customer because they can offer a great range of delivery options to suit them; and for the carriers, lockers are a way of eliminating failed deliveries, which drives costs down and allows them to make a profit out of the highly-competitive B2C market.”