The introduction of eBay Virtual Tracking Numbers caused quite a bit of discussion over how online sellers despatch their orders and it turns out that many, quite naturally, still visit the Post Office to send their items. However, at least in Chelmsford, many sellers are making use of Royal Mail Parcel Postboxes. Chelmsford Parcel Postbox is one of the busiest in the UK.
How it works is you buy your postage online with Click & Drop which can automatically import your orders if you open a free account. Then you can simply drop your parcels into a Parcel Postbox. No queues and with the Government due to announce more stringent restrictions on our lifestyles later today, it’s an option for despatching your online sales without having contact with another human.
The Chelmsford Parcel Postbox, situated outside the mail centre itself on Winsford Way, is so popular that it is now emptied more than once a day to keep up with demand. The box now receives nearly 400 parcels a week. At its peak, that meant the Chelmsford Parcel Postbox was receiving around 75 parcels each day.
The popularity of the postbox is driven by a mix of local retailers and online market place sellers sending out orders to their customers and online shoppers returning items for refunds.
The launch of parcel post boxes last year was one of the biggest innovations in parcels in 160 years and came in response to growing demand for parcel services, and an increase in online buying and selling in the UK. So far, Royal Mail has launched 1400 parcel postboxes across the country. The first ever UK postboxes were trialled in Jersey in 1852. They were subsequently introduced across the UK in 1853 by Anthony Trollope, the novelist and senior GPO executive. The new parcel postboxes have a wider aperture and are also red which has remained the standard colour for boxes with a few exceptions.
“The coronavirus pandemic and lockdown has driven major changes in consumer habits, including the way we shop. Chelmsford is one example of how local businesses, marketplace sellers and online shoppers returning unwanted items are using our parcel postboxes to post parcels both simply and conveniently, through a fast and easy local drop off.”
– Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer, Royal Mail
If you’re interested in locating your nearest Parcel Postbox, I apologise in advance as I was going to list them until I discovered that there are over 1,300 across the UK. Instead you can locate your nearest one here by searching for your town.