Doddle to trial “neighbourhood agents” scheme
Doddle’s chief executive Tim Robinson has announced that the company will soon start a five-week trial project which will involve using “neighbourhood agents” to deliver parcels. Speaking on the BBC radio programme You and Yours, Robinson explained that the “agents” would be people who work from home and are available four nights a week between 18:00 and 22:00 to hand over parcels. The agents would be overseen by a local manager.
“Already Royal Mail will deliver something that was heading to your home to the next best person they can find. It’s about formalising that and offering people the chance to earn a bit of money and play a role in their community,” Robinson said.
The Doddle chief executive stressed that this scheme – if it went ahead – would supplement, and not replace, its existing network of parcel stores located in high foot fall locations.
“We are not moving away from railway stations and shops,” said Robinson. “We are going to push on and open more and more stores but it is about giving consumers another option.”
Robinson did say, however, that Doddle has revised the scale of its parcel store network, in the light of experience. In 2014, Doddle said that it planned to open 300 collection points. On the You and Yours programme, Robinson said that the company now expected to open about 150 stores over the next few years. Currently it has 35 stores around the UK.
“What we’re finding is consumers are not prepared to walk far off the beaten track to collect their parcels,” Robinson said.
“I think some of the assumptions we had in our original business model that we could be 100 yards to the right outside a railway station have not really played out.
“So for us now it is about trying to find the right sites in the right locations at the right stations that we know are going to work.”