Parcel carrier DPD is to double the number of Parcel Shops in its German network over the next few years, as it looks to expand business-to-consumer deliveries.
The French-owned company said today it was planning to add 2,000 more outlets to its 4,000-strong network by the end of 2013.
But, in the medium-term it will take that number to 8,000.
DPD, part of La Poste’s European parcel division GeoPost, said it was also investing in the technical facilities of its Parcel Shops, which are generally operated by external retail partners as additional in-store services.
The investment comes as one in four of DPD’s deliveries in Germany are now shipments going to consumers, rather than its traditional business-to-business customers.
Arnold Schroven, the DPD chief executive, said with his company’s increasing focus on ecommerce customers, the Parcel Shops provided a “backbone for uncomplicated and convenient shipping” to consumers.
“Combined with tailor-made products and sophisticated computer services, a network of 8,000 DPD Parcel Shops with the latest IT facilities will provide us with the ideal infrastructure for further growth in the B2C segment,” said Schroven.
“At the same time we will be establishing the third major Parcel Shop network on the German market.”
In Germany, rivals Hermes claim a network of 14,000 Parcel Shops, while Royal Mail-owned GLS has more than 5,000 Parcel Shops in Germany. Deutsche Post, meanwhile has its network of post offices and also a network of 2,500 self-service Packstations where consumers can pick up their parcels and ecommerce purchases.
DPD Germany has a website – neuzustellung.de – that allows parcel recipients to redirect their undelivered parcels to its Parcel Shops, and from 2013 the company will allow consumers to have their parcels delivered to their nearest Parcel Shop at the first attempt.
DPD also has a “FlexDelivery” service that allows consignees to postpone their delivery to one of the three working days after receiving an initial delivery notification. From next year, this service will offer Parcel Shops as an alternative for re-directing deliveries.
Schroven said: “Private consignees are often not at home when their parcel is delivered. For many consignees the option of collecting parcels from a DPD Parcel Shop is a useful alternative.”
DPD said offering a network of Parcel Shops also helped cut the environmental impact of multiple attempts to deliver the same packages.
The expanding Parcel Shop network will also play an important role in handling product returns, the company said.
From next year, all new and existing DPD Parcel Shops will be equipped with new IT systems to make it easier for both customers and Parcel Shop operators to ship parcels.