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Smiths News is rolling out a parcel collection network to independent news and convenience stores which will allow customers to pick up online shopping within hours of ordering.
Pass My Parcel will provide e-commerce giant Amazon with a same day delivery solution which Smiths expects to be a hit with consumers in the run-up to Christmas.
A total of 550 retailers have been trained to use counter top scanners and will get two waves of distribution – one with news and magazines and a second delivery later in the day – with each parcel earning them 45p.
Managing director Jon Bunting said it would help to secure the viability of the supply chain and bolster profit streams from non-newsstand products.
Although the network will initially operate in existing Smith territories outside of London, Mr Bunting said he hoped to develop a national network.
“That might mean partnering with other companies but it is very much our intention,” he added.
“We have to grow the retail base before we look at other clients and make sure it’s working brilliantly for consumers.
“Amazon is our first, but it won’t be our only client.
“It does already use MyHermes and Collect+ shops but the difference here is the speed.”
Customers ordering before 8.30pm will be able to collect parcels from as early as 6am the following day. Orders made by 11am will be in store from as early as 4pm.
We have to grow the retail base before we look at other clients and make sure it’s working brilliantly for consumers
Retailers will have to check that the correct number of parcels have been delivered and store them in a secure area.
Customers will present a barcode to be scanned, but will not be required to show ID.
Mr Bunting said the parcel service would not compromise service levels on news and magazines.
“We are not going to jeopardise the core business of news and magazines,” he added. “If the volumes get spiky before Christmas, we will not hesitate to put on dedicated runs.”