Doddle Deal: Amazon’s Plans for Click-and-Collect
Amazon, the online retail giant, has struck a deal with a new click-and-collect venture called Doddle, set up by Network Rail and Lloyd Dorfman, an entrepreneur best known for creating foreign exchange company Travelex.
Amazon started off in 1994 as an online bookstore and has become the world’s biggest online retailer, now selling pretty much anything. But while Amazon customers usually have their goods delivered to them, from later this year they will be able to collect their parcels from participating railway stations.
Doddle is currently undergoing pilot operations in Milton Keynes, but is planning to officially launch in September and expand to around 300 click-and-collect points at train stations across Britain – as well as some high street shops – over the next three years.
Almost 30 million British people use click-and-collect services, growing by around 30% over the last six months. This explosive growth is down to customers realising they can avoid rising delivery costs and not have to stay around the house all day waiting for their goods to arrive.
Network Rail said Doddle is the first service of its kind to be available to every retailer and parcel delivery service, costing about £24 million to implement. The idea is to create a network of individual collection points, where customers will also be able to send packages or make returns, designed to enable carriers and retailers to complement and enhance their existing services. It will also allow customers to combine their collections and returns from multiple companies into a single trip at a time that suits them or coincides with a planned journey.
“While teaming up with a high street brand could have been beneficial, it would have limited the scope of the business,” explained a spokesperson for Doddle.
Network Rail’s Managing Director, Robin Gisby, said that more and more people are starting to travel by rail, and stations are being turned into places where people spend more time, and not just of the getting off a train or waiting for a train variety.
“We have adapted to what passengers want and need by offering quality retail, food and drink at our biggest stations… and [Doddle] is a natural step to help passengers and station users whose lives are increasingly busy and on the move,” Gisby said.
It won’t be long before missing the delivery of a package (because you had to pop to the shop for a pint of milk, or some other silly reason) will be a thing of the past, and the luxury of home delivery is stepped up to the next level for all of our shopping needs.