Concept store tests fresh ways of meeting online shoppers’ evolving needs
Ottawa (Ont.) – Canada Post is taking customer convenience to a new level with the Drive-thru Parcel Centre that officially opened today in Richmond Hill, Ont. Two of its many innovations – a drive-thru for parcel pickup and a fitting room – are the first of their kind in any postal outlet in North America.
The pilot store features a bright, free-flowing environment and offers a range of new customer conveniences, such as self-serve shipping stations, that allow online shoppers and small business owners alike to do business quickly and easily:
- Drive-thru parcel pickup. Customers never have to get out of their car. At the welcome kiosk, they simply scan the barcode on their smartphone or paper pickup notice, then drive ahead to receive the item at the pickup window. (The canopy will protect them and their item in bad weather). If the parcel is big or heavy, staff will place it in the customer’s vehicle.
- All-in-one self-serve shipping station. A unique technology lets customers send their parcels anywhere in Canada 24/7. Using a touch screen, the customer selects their parcel service, scans their item for weight and size, pays by debit or credit card and prints their shipping label. Once they scan the barcoded label and place the parcel in the drop box, a receipt confirms the item is on its way, and ready for them to track online.
- A fitting room. Customers can try on the outfit they bought online right away to see if it is right for them. The spacious 50-square-foot private space is equipped with a full mirror and a small bench – like any retail store. If the item isn’t right for them, they have the added convenience of being able to return it immediately.
- Self-serve vending kiosk. Customers can buy stamps, shipping supplies such as Priority™ Prepaid and Xpresspost™ Prepaid envelopes or bubble envelopes, gift cards and more. The user-friendly self-serve transactions are quick and customers can avoid lineups at the counter.
- Extended hours. While the self-serve kiosks and shipping stations are in a section that’s open 24/7, the centre’s extended full-service hours for the drive-thru, the fitting room and more complex transactions with the help of our staff are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The store also offers free Wifi and larger postal boxes for customers. Canada Post can also rent space in the store to other retailers to open a pop-up store, or short-term sales outlet – an emerging retail trend.
“When consumers shop online, we aspire to be the storefront for thousands of stores who choose Canada Post as their delivery partner”, says Deepak Chopra, President and CEO of Canada Post. “This pilot is our ongoing quest to find innovative solutions for a fast growing population of savvy online shoppers.”
For the first half of 2015, the number of parcels from fashion retailers delivered increased by 18 per cent while in the Greater Toronto Area, they grew 28 per cent compared to the previous year. Canada Post delivers two out of three parcels ordered online in the country.
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