Royal Mail Transformation for marketplace sellers

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Royal Mail was founded in 1516 as a business delivering letters across the nation. Today parcels are overtaking letters as ecommerce continues to accelerate and many of these purchases are delivered by the nation’s postal service. A multi-year Royal Mail transformation is under to cope with the deluge of parcels so we went to see Natalie Thomas Royal Mail’s Innovation Director, to find out more.

Royal Mail carry more parcels than all other UK carriers put together with 1.3 billion delivered annually and are investing £1.8 billion to improve the service.

Marketplace sellers are already seeing some of the improvements coming from the Royal Mail transformation. They’ve created Click and Drop (allowing you to put your own logo on labels) as well as Pro Shipping. Alongside this new services such as an estimated delivery window the day before, new tracked products with all postal delivery workers having handholds to track deliveries. This has enabled eBay for instance, to protect sellers on-time delivery metrics for items carrying 2D bar codes.

Over the next four years, three new fully automated parcel hubs will go live. This is part of Royal Mail transformation plans for a 2nd day delivery. Consumers are buying ever later in the day and Royal Mail’s second delivery, combined with their investment in parcel hubs, will rush items through the network so if a consumer buys from you in the evening it will be delivered in less than 24 hours.

Another part of the Royal Mail transformation is the Royal Mail app giving up to date delivery notifications and future plans are inflight delivery notifications to keep your customers informed exactly when your products will arrive.

Smaller sellers will appreciate parcel post boxes and in the future collections from home to save trips to the post Office.

Royal Mail Transformation

Find out more about the Royal Mail transformation in the video below and at royalmail.com/transformation



80 Responses

  1. Royal Mail are probably the biggest thorn in our back as sellers. The majority of items we send are LL 24 and the loss rate runs at around 0.8-1%.

    This is a company that has failed to modernise due to union pressure. Their own employees are slowly killing the business because as with all unionised workforces there is a desire for more pay, less work and a refusal to all machinery and other upgrade (for fear of losing their cushy jobs).

    Can’t wait for this monopoly to collapse.

  2. we have mentioned this before
    we recently asked why an item had not been scanned when we knew it had been delivered, and the response from customer support was that the battery was flat on the scanner
    if royal mall cant be relied to charge a battery, any amount of hi tech is rendered useless

  3. An item may not be scanned for a variety of reasons.

    The barcode may be defaced due to;
    The sticker being applied incorrectly to the package ( barcode is creased etc) or has been placed on a on flat surface.
    The barcode may have become wet due to rain etc and has smudged.
    The barcode has been saturated with Ink (during printing) and is no longer clear.
    All of these can cause a failure in the scanning system.
    And yes, technology does at times crash. Handheld PDA’s do suffer system crashes and battery failures.

  4. Why do certain mailmen not leave packages with a neighbor if I am not home I have told him it’s ok to do so yet another one is happy to comply to my request Royalmail is a joke they employ morons most of the time the mailman I have is miserable never speaks just looks at me like I am dirt

  5. To all concerned I had a wonderful and rewarding tome at the Royal Mail . Staff have embraced new tech wholeheartedly . Staff at the Royal Mail go above anbeyond to deliver a great service as well as raisibg millions of pounds for charity these are the stories and kind gestures not spoken about5

  6. Most the problems are down to bad management starting from top down. Most of management are only in there jobs because there mate gave em the job or a family member is in mangement they have no man management skills at all just got the gift of the gob. wudnt pay most of em because most of these were the lazy staff who never wanted to do work when on shop floor . They talk a gud job and that was it. Needs a gud clear out of management who not do what they shud. Get over £30000 a yr for what.

  7. Royalmail is nation asset it has and will always be part of the our great nation and to the idiots who complain i would like them to try working there if they would last would be a miracle

  8. As someone who actually works on the shop floor in royal mails south midlands mail center we are fully aware of the future is going to be more mechanized as someone whose done more than 22 years in the business i embraced change and not all posties are not dinosaurs not able to accept change yes we’ve got a union and they aint perfect. Equally Royal mail as a business isn’t great either the problem is the ones that are running it and not the posties and the new bloke in charge is going to do a MG Rover on the business so dont worry general public Royal Mail in 5-10 years wont exist anyway

  9. Resent being called a moron. The majority in our office go above and beyond to deliver a quality service. PDAs do crash and labels are unscannable occasionally. Usually we leave the parcel with a neighbour unless there’s been a problem in the past

  10. I have worked for royal mail for over 30 years and this is the first time I am actually worried about the future.
    Higher management create deals which are detrimental to the business. We are always playing catch up on our competitors.
    The focus for the group is on GLS and not Royal Mail.
    Local management unable to manage because of Union.
    Agreements in place which are too biased towards those willing to “play the game”.
    I give Royal Mail 5 to 10 years at most.

  11. Im wondering how many of these people who just moan actually realise what the WHOLE job entails..woukd they get up every day..walk the streets in the rain..slush..sleet..wind..for over half a year or in the weather now and walk up and down stairs ..paths you name it to stick mail in a letter box..i know i wouldnt..these people just moan about everything whilst getting things for far cheaper than most of other parcel delivery companys .get a life people

  12. I’ve worked for royal mail for over 20 years and prior to that was in the Army.
    I can assure it’s a very physical taxing job carried out in all weathers .
    I ve met very few posties which I’d label lazy or belligerent.
    indeed on a weekly basis we have messages of praise from our customers.
    The Union have worked hard to attain a liveable wage wage what is the issue with that ?

  13. The usual bollocks about walking miles wind rain blah blah
    Someone would have you think a postie was doing unpaid charity work

  14. Jim before you condemn us come and do the job for a couple of weeks and see what the job REALLY entails. If you still feel the same after that fair enough. Also in the not too distant future the one price goes anywhere service will go to be replaced by zonal pricing and the Universal Service will go too. Hope i’m retired then,be careful what you wish for!!!!!!

  15. As an current Postie one of the main reasons parcels are not left at some neighbors is because the customer is ordering so much stuff neighbors have had enough or the customer is too lazy to collect it from their neighbours thus upsetting the neighbors. My walk consists of 600+ homes. And I for one deliver nearly every parcel every day. Also it would be helpful if these home businesses labelled correctly in the first place and not on corners, etc. If you run out of ink…reprint it dont leave it and think it’s okay… It isn’t. That’s why we can’t scan it and you can’t track it!

  16. 25 years in the job so I can obviously do it properly or I’d be out of a job. Biggest pain for me next day 1pm special deliveries why o why do people order a signed for item and never in to sign for it. I’m not taking it to a neighbour as I’m liable for that item so if your ordering signed for stay bloody home.

  17. Twats moaning again people thing us posties only deliver a couple of roads. Its laughable if most people moaning did a full delivery they would see how crap it can be.

  18. Worked for Royal Mail for 13 years, Easy and well paid,.over £13 an hour, more than a firefighter, nurse, police constable etc managers only managers because they where scabs during strike, They then get there family members in through the loop hole starting as agency then excellent employer we will keep him on *wink wink* instead of going through the career website, posties late for there specials and sign them on a wait docket so the times can be altered. Easy money, I’m Glad I’ve left now and work for a living instead of being embarrassesed getting my payslip knowing I got paid for nothing basically. No wonder the job is a 25 hour week job now should have always been like that, get the same work done as an ‘oul’ full timer. Lazy so and so.

  19. I’ve sold over 10 thousand items on ebay over the years and, unless it’s a large item, I almost always use Royal Mail. I’ve only ever had three buyers claim they “never received it” and, as we all know, their claim might well have been fraudulent.
    So Royal Mail gets my vote as a seller.
    And as a buyer, apart from larger items, I tend to only buy from other sellers if they’re using Royal Mail, because the last thing I want is to have couriers banging on neighbours’ doors, or indeed encourage these unfortunate people to drive round as fast as possible, creating both risk and unnecessary pollution. Royal Mail drivers tend to be very professional and courteous when behind the wheel.
    The only thing that I can’t fathom, is why the cost of using Royal Mail has roughly doubled in real terms, over the last 40 years, despite all this new technology.

  20. I fully support RM and have used them for 25+ years, as Bulent Bas said, we also get very few parcels go missing. I do wonder why the system works for some and not others. Maybe it is not the system bu the user?

  21. It is wrong to tar all posties with the same brush. Like any professionathere will be the good the bad and the damn right dreadful. We are lucky in that ours have almost entirely been great, one exception, but like i said…
    However that is not to say there aren’t big issues. We find that the service nationally can change like thew weather. Monday postings seem to have a much higher rate of late deliveries or next arrives. Speaking with out postie he informed me it was due to the fact that after the weekend the amount of mail can overwhelm what they can deal with and so some is put aside and filtered into the system during the week. This would acocunt for the fatc we often get several items from a monday that arrive 3 to 5 days late. Big issue if you are on ebay as people expect you to resend or refund well before that. We get more than a few customers contact us to say items have turned up 5 to 10 days late, and after we have resent others.
    The other issue that causes us no end of issues is cards not being left. Now RM hQ tell us this simply doesn’t happen…. yet when i look at the sheer number of people who let us know an item hasn’t arrived / no card and then we tell them to check with the sorting office and it is there, it tells a different story. Again that is more delivery mark downs on ebay etc.
    Now im not saying this is all down to the posties themself. Our postie tells me that they are often short staffed, especially in the summer and that causes big issues, also that sometimes you simply plough through the cards and may run out before the end of a run. The volume of parcels being sent means more and more items can’t be posted through a letter box.
    So it is a bit of a mixed bag. Short staffed, a system that struggles to deal with the volumes going through it, a management system that refuses to accept there are issues… and yes, a few poor posties. This is where the issues start, sadly it end s with the sender who has little or no power over it.
    ….. oh yes. Those barcoded items that get scanned on the way to the address… Then can’t be left. GRRRRRR scan on delivery not on the way to the address please. This causes big issues. I had 2 just the other day at my home address, both said delivered but we had been out all day. No card either. So their was i pestering the senders, who swore blind we had received them. So a trip to the sorting office to try and get them. Kind of makes the whole barcode thing a complete waste of time. What next? Signed for that doesn’t need to be signed for?

  22. Can some of you postmen tell me why I get a different postman few weeks or sometimes every week? 2 years ago I had this postman who was continually speaking to someone on a headset while he was delivering my mail. Never looked me in the eye or spoke to me in 6 months and I have deliveries at least 3 days a week. He went missing for about 8 months then he was back again. Then he went missing again for a couple of months and now he’s back. In between I’ve had about 9 different postmen/women delivering my mail…why? I’ve had cards for parcels left without the van driver trying to ring my doorbell. Just parked in the middle of the road stuck a while you were out card through my letterbox and drove off. Complained about it was told it would be investigated but never heard back again. At least 4 occasions I have had signed for mail delivered and signed in my name (my signature forged) when it was not me who signed (I live alone) I know Royal Mail put posties under pressure to deliver their quota but it’s counterproductive if it’s affecting their ability to give a decent honest service. I no longer bother complaining now as it makes no difference so royal mail are not fully aware of the real picture. Their surveys make about as much sense as lying to your Doctor about your health. It would also help if my local sorting office did not close at 12 noon every day of the week. I’m in Forest Gate, East London and have been told that opening hours are left to the individual sort office. Why is it that some sorting office is are open all day and evening and some even up to 9pm and others close at noon in a very busy area of London?

  23. “eBay
    Improve your service metrics

    Hi Andy,

    Compared to sellers that sell similar items under similar circumstances, your rates for item not received requests opened by buyers between 01 Jul, 2018 – 30 Jun, 2019 are high or very high. ”

    mostly large letters 1.3% I have a proof of postage slip for every 1 of them. I have now started claiming all last 30 claims required 110 pieces of evidence simply to reclaim cost price

  24. Since some of us don’t use Royal Mail to its full potential or for their full business needs I thought I had better put my own review for other sellers who are interested.

    First of all, I will start with pros and cons and my review will follow.

    Pros:

    -For Letter and Large Letter sized items, Royal Mail is by far the most competitive prices especially if you sell high volume as the rates improve

    -Delivery confirmation on Royal Mail 24 / 48 considering as those services start from less than £1 is amazing

    -Software integration for Click and Drop into online marketplaces works like a charm so far; no issues on either eBay or Amazon so far (Amazon Mexico however, does not integrate)

    -Click and Drop automatically adds the tracking codes to the orders after the manifest which used to take me an hour or more each day to add 100 tracking codes

    -Shipping rules are straightforward to set up and out of 100 orders around 80 will be ready to print at a single click without needing any further input thanks to the new print assist feature

    -As little as 25 parcels a week unlocks the potential for the free collection so we have not been to a post office for the last couple of years. Recently we have even been sending so many Royal Mail Tracked 24 parcels a week that they have given us free Saturday collections also

    -Royal Mail provides us with our mail supplies free online to order (bag labels, 6x4mm labels for our thermal printer, bags, zip ties, trays, etc.) which would accumulate to a big expenditure over the years

    -They provided us with a dedicated account manager who helps us with anything we need to ask; she even offered us the best prices and services tailored for our business needs

    -Click and Drop is continuously improving with each new update in many areas including new features

    -Cancelling postage before manifesting the day’s orders is very easy and you will know before the time to manifest if you need to cancel since you can do one last check. Cancelling post manifest requires a claim style procedure to be followed but is a very rare situation

    -Sending return labels to customers is very easy and is considerably cheaper than eBay rates

    These are the main benefits I can think of and here are the cons

    Cons:

    -If there is a cancellation after the manifest it does require quite some effort to claim since the exact cost of the order is not easily apparent since the prices are based on average weights and sizes; it feels to me that it should be far easier to know how much was spent on that particular order

    -It would be very helpful to know how much you are paying for each label even if only roughly and also the VAT and surcharges such as fuel – Alternatively, a weekly or monthly itemised report would be a good solution like any other software involved with sales; this is perhaps the most unprofessional part of it

    -When an item is lost or damaged, Royal Mail only refunds the cost price of the item and postage – If the parcel gets to the location without an issue we would make a more significant profit and we would not risk losing the customers repeat custom; it is my belief that Royal Mail should compensate this too

    -When claiming a lost or damaged item they ask us to provide the invoice of the item we purchased which is a nightmare because it takes us a lot of effort and time to find these since we stock items for a long time. It seems pointless since invoices are also very easy to fake.

    -It would be far easier to be able to claim a lost or damaged item through that order on Click and Drop itself rather than asking us to fill an excel sheet and attach various proofs via email. Then we still need to chase it but if such a feature was on Click and Drop we could monitor the progress on the software instead.

    -Some customers make multiple purchases on the same day and click and drop does not alert you to this so if you do not spot it and cancel one of the labels so you can post the items together it costs additional shipping. An alert that the same name and address has passed into the orders would surely be a very easy and helpful feature to implement

    -Sometimes Royal Mail do not acquire the signature from the customer for a service which requires it – this causes issues for us with online sales and Amazon in particular since Amazon does not accept delivery confirmation as proof of delivery and needs to see the signature of the recipient

    -Occasionally the server for click and drop has been down and we have been unable to print labels or manifest the day’s orders

    -A specific issue we encountered with the shipping rules was not being able to classify an inventory item differently for Domestic and International shippings. For example, we post a letter sized item as large letter in the UK so we can use the delivery confirmation of Royal Mail 24 (only Large Letter and above) but wish to send the same item as the Letter size it is internationally since it is cheaper

    -The last one for me personally would be if the integration to the sales channels automatically imported our catalogue including the item photos so we can easily see what has been sold

    My summary would be that Royal Mail is far better than any other company out there especially for selling a high volume of light products like us.

    Our workload has probably dropped almost 80% since we no longer have to print and cut addresses as well as the return address label or frank items but instead printing all the labels as adhesive stickers, and the tracking is uploaded automatically removing the human error as well as the system remembering the item weights and parcel sizes. Therefore I don’t think we can complain just because of some lost items and missing signatures.

    Royal Mail is constantly improving so I think lots of these issues will be smoothed out and made more accessible.

  25. Hi Bulent Bas
    As a Front Line worker I was very taken by your support for Royal Mail,
    Even though RM is a large reputable company there resources are still limited, just like yours are when it comes to digging out invoices.
    RM do have a part to play in the loss and damage of items, but there is also the factor of fraud to consider and they invest a lot of money in solving this problem. So you can understand why they only refund the cost of postage.

    I myself do make mistakes but have very honest customers and always try to retrieve mis-deliveries. “I can only speak for myself though” and I always handle customers deliveries as they were my own.

    RM have a saying “It is easy to find new trade but it is 10 times harder to get old customers back”. What the old customers seem to foget is RM are always trying there. BEST.

  26. Hi Bulent Bas
    As a Front Line worker I was very taken by your support for Royal Mail,
    Even though RM is a large reputable company there resources are still limited, just like yours are when it comes to digging out invoices.
    RM do have a part to play in the loss and damage of items, but there is also the factor of fraud to consider and they invest a lot of money in solving this problem. So you can understand why they only refund the items price and cost of postage.

    I myself do make mistakes but have very honest customers and always try to retrieve mis-deliveries. “I can only speak for myself though” and I always handle customers deliveries as they were my own.

    RM have a saying “It is easy to find new trade but it is 10 times harder to get old customers back”. What the old customers seem to foget is RM are always trying there. BEST.

  27. I like how most of the positive comments here are from posties themselves. Talk about blowing your own trumpet.

    personally – Royal Mail would get a lot more support and business from me if it were not for all the hassle in the past with threatened strikes and actual strikes.

    Posties don’t like their pay or conditions so they threaten to disrupt my business? I don’t get threats from the likes of Hermes or other couriers. instead the Royal Mail competition make every attempt to treat me as a valuable customer.

    Alternative services value my business and – in the case of Hermes – are almost half the price of a Royal Mail tracked item. And despite posties trashing Hermes when I have stated this in the past – the delivery success rate of Hermes is on par with Royal Mail.

    I find that many posties have a chip on their shoulder against management, pay and working conditions. I respect that – but don’t take it out on the customer.

    Its also alarming how little some postman know about their job, and tracking etc. I find that I am educating them about things that they should already know. I have been using Royal Mail for years but some postman have been with Royal Mail longer and their knowledge is sadly lacking.

  28. our big problem with royal mail
    is the defensive obstructive attitude of customer services on the odd occasion something goes wrong,
    they often simply quote the small print terms and conditions with no real effort to help or solve the problem

  29. Alan
    Hermes are a joke, they only deliver to compact housing areas and city centres. RM do all there rural deliveries. Hermes take a handling fee.

    When you give Hermes credit you really are passing RM

  30. we use my hermes and dont care if noddy and big ears do the delivery, in their noddy car, as long as its delivered
    my hermes is half the price or more than royal mail

  31. If you are happy with the way your goods are delivered and received, then fair play to you all.
    If not, then I truly hope that RM’s 1.8 billion modernisation works.
    For all of us.

  32. To all the customers of hermes I may have affended by calling hermes a joke.

    I may have exaggerated when I said that RM deliver all there rural items, this is totaly not true.

    Even though you might think I am full of it because I am a Front Line worker for RM. Here are some facts.

    When I sort packets in our delivery Office I RARELY come accross packets to be delivered to rural areas for other delivery companies.

    I do not find items left in stupied places from other delivery companies and have to notify the recipient.

    I do not get customers asking why I am delivering an item they are expecting from some other delivery company.

    I definitley do not know anyone whom has worked for other delivery companies and been told that they can just leave packets anywere, because that is okay the customer will just blame the Postal Service.

    I am sorry for not carrying on because I am full of s**t and am looking forward to the next Ofcom report.

    I am now going to leave it at that.

  33. Sorry when I said I was going to leave it at that.

    Did I foget to mention this factor.

    Royal Mail goes to more front doors each day than any other delivery company. They do use pickup location if a customer requests it.

    If anyone does have a problem with the Service that Royal Mail do in your area please treat them respectfully and I hope that they will be able to help you.

    You never know it might be A while before you see any other delivery employee.

    Finished.

  34. Royal Mail is far too expensive- and anyway why pay more to visit a post office queue when I can have the items conveniently collected by courier from my door ?
    I mean really, Special Delivery next day letter for £8 ? I can send a 10kg parcel for less, getting there in the same timeframe. This is not a dig at posties by the way- they don’t set the tariffs.

  35. What strikes me most reading through this is just how little people know with whats really going on within Royal Mail. That’s not whats going on with the Postmen but whats going on where RM want to sell off its assets to make a quick profit, strip out agreements to force in zero hour contracts. They are not interested in quality of service, they are not interested in investing in products the public wants, they are not in the slight interested in its workforce they are interested in one thing alone and its profit. They are a private company now and just like the trains ,water board, gas and electric , and every other national company that went private it’s going down the pan because of management and shareholder greed … nothing to do with its workforce trying to protect it.

  36. So “statman” Alan Peterson. How do you know ‘most’ postman are miserable gits when you will have only met a fraction of the thousands of them out there? So you’re obviously LYING, with that one!
    Also Mr. ‘Gospel’ Peterson, just because your Hermes deliveries were delivered by them, doesn’t mean Royal Mail don’t deliver others. If it’s cost effective for them, other parcel delivery companies, including Hermes, occasionaly will use Royal Mail for the final mile. FACT!! I’ve delivered them myself, with the Hermes logo on and everything, accompanied by a little square with ‘Delivered by Royal Mail” on it. You like facts don’t you, Hope that little one helps you out. Oh, and one final one. You saying that most of the praise on this forum for Royal Mail is from Posties is also a LIE. I’d say at least 50% are from customers. Just scroll up and read pal, it’s pretty simple.

  37. @tyler
    Posting on forums at midnight pal, good on ya!! And with a comment that adds nothing at all to the debate. Brilliant! I’m speaking from personal experience in the job sunshine, where are you speaking from, apart from your ar*ehole? Grow up, and get a life mate.

  38. @tyler
    I’m glad to hear it. And despite what you may have interpreted from my comments, I am not a ‘miserable git’ and happen to like my job and my customers like me. I just can’t abide people (i.e Paterson) spouting untruths then calling others out for lying. Especially when they have limited experience in what they are talking about. So that is why I may have come across as angry. I’m happy you appreciate the work we do as most of us do work hard.

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