A Sydney businessman has highlighted the business opportunities surrounding parcel delivery, as Australia Post struggles to deal with the rising volume of parcels as a result of online retail.
Australia Post has extended its trading hours, rented extra depots and even sent office staff down to dispatch to cope with a 13% surge in parcel volumes due to the online shopping boom.
This Christmas is tipped to be the busiest year to date for the organisation, with an extra three million parcels to be delivered in December alone. More than two thirds are items bought online.
Australia Post anticipated the increased demand for parcels and took out leases a few months ago on extra facilities, including one at Potts Point in Sydney.
Potts Point is a parcel-processing facility on an 18-month lease, designed to start just in time for Christmas.
Australia Post continues to enjoy the lion’s share of the parcel market – volumes are growing 11% a year as the organisation reshapes its business to profit from the online shopping boom.
However, parcel delivery doesn’t always run smoothly, with significant problems often occurring at the point of “last-mile delivery” because many people are not home to receive parcels during delivery hours.
Get SmartCompany FREE to your inbox every weekday
Julian Leach says this issue prompted him to start his business, which enables customers to send their deliveries to local convenience stores and then collect when it suits them.
Leach is the founder of Parcel Champs, launched in September, aimed at customers who received parcels but are often not at home during delivery hours.
As part of the Parcel Champs service, collection times include evenings and weekends, and delivery insurance is matched up to $100 per parcel.
“Like many people, I’ve had a few missed delivery nightmares over the years. I dread to think how many hours I have spent lining up at the post office,” Leach says.
“Earlier this year, I had a parcel returned to the US because I was too busy to get to the post office on a weekday between nine and five.”
“After it was redelivered to Australia, I couldn’t quite believe the inconvenience, wasted time and money… I decided if no one else would fix this problem then I would try and fix it myself.”
Parcel Champs uses a network of local convenience stores to act as depots, making it far more convenient for customers to collect parcels. The company currently has a network of 14 stores.
Shoppers simply use a Parcel Champs address for their delivery, receive a notification when the parcel arrives and collect it when it suits them.
“24-hour lockers and extended opening hours are convenient if they are located nearby, but we don’t believe shoppers want to travel further to access these services,” Leach says.
“This is why we are enabling customers to receive parcels right in their neighbourhood. Parcel Champs is also not tied to a delivery service, which means it works for any parcel.”
“This is important because most people don’t know or care who is delivering – they just want to get their deliveries easily.”
The business started in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and has since expanded to Sydney’s CBD. However, Parcel Champs is planning to create a national network over the coming weeks.