A new partnership between Toll and Victorian newsagents that will allow parcel recipients to pick up their packages on weekends and after hours is yet another sign the online commerce market is maturing, experts say.
The agreement between the two companies comes after Australia Post embarked on a similar scheme to install its own parcel lockers, while supermarket giant Coles has explored a project of its own.
“The great thing here is that, from both the customer’s point of view and the merchant’s point of view, it’s an opportunity to eliminate one of the biggest headaches in parcel delivery,” says Forrester Research analyst Steven Noble.
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The new agreement is part of a plan to create thousands of pick-up points across the country, giving users flexibility in delivery times and pick-up locations.
“Online shopping is one of the few areas in Australia, outside resources, which has grown quickly, and looks like it will continue to grow very quickly,” Toll managing director Brian Kruger told The Australian Financial Review.
“This represents a key plank of our domestic growth strategy.”
The new service is to be called Nagent.
Toll and the Victorian Newsagents Association were both contacted by SmartCompany this morning, but responses were not available prior to publication.
One of the biggest drawbacks in the Australian online retail space is that recipients are rarely home to receive their packages. They are then taken back to the post office, where they can only be picked up after a certain time.
Because most people are at work or busy, they miss those times. And with no pick up allowed during weekends, many people have to wait days to receive their packages.
This is a huge problem for Australia Post, which regularly complains that its post offices are overflowing with parcels due to online shopping.
At the same time, newsagents are suffering due to falling newspaper and magazine sales. Allowing them to become postage pick-up points would allow these stores to remain relevant.
“It’s the biggest headache in online retailing,” Noble says.
Toll isn’t the first to try to solve the problem. Along with Australia Post and Coles, which has trialled pick-up points at service stations, entrepreneur Mark Bouris has signalled his intentions to roll out a parcel lockers project after his company TZ failed to secure an Australia Post contract.
Noble says the reaction to the problem is a good sign for a maturing market.
“The old days of just putting up with what AusPost have had to offer are gone, and this is a good sign we’re going to have more interesting options in the delivery space to make life easier.”