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Doddle given go ahead for National roll out

By Chris Dawson June 19, 2014 - 10:05 am

Doddle hmDoddle, the new parcel collection and delivery service located at railway stations and major hubs across Britain, has announced that it will open at 300 new locations within the next three years, creating over 3,000 new jobs.

We wrote about the Doddle trial in Milton Keynes in December, and following the successful pilot of the service by Network Rail employees from its nearby national centre and local businesses such as Santander the service is now set to expand to full operation.

With immediate effect Doddle will operate as in independent, standalone limited company, with Network Rail and Lloyd Dorfman CBE holding equal majority shareholdings. Lloyd is best known for creating the Travelex Group which is now the world’s largest non-bank foreign exchange business.

Leading online fashion retailer ASOS is to be one of the early adopters of the service, initially offering it for returns to over 40,000 customers in the Milton Keynes region. Others include: New Look, the leading multi-channel fast fashion retailer; Countrywide Farmers, the country and equestrian clothing specialist; and TM Lewin, the stylish business wear specialist who is using Doddle to sit alongside its existing click & collect and next day delivery services.

The first five new Doddle shops will be at London Waterloo (which last year enjoyed a footfall in excess of 100 million), Bromley South, Brighton, Chelmsford and London Cannon Street. They will be located in dedicated retail units within the stations or within built–to-order facilities. Open seven days a week, early until late, they will fit with people’s busy lifestyles and enable them to choose exactly how, when and where they send, return and receive parcels. There is an easy-to-use website and notifications through SMS and email.

The business will be headed up by Tim Robinson, who was previously Route Managing Director, Sussex at Network Rail and has been responsible for driving the development of the Doddle concept within the business. He is joined by Peter Louden as COO who has been Project Director at Doddle since its inception in 2013, and Adam Lauffer as CFO, a former Commercial Director at Monetise.

Tim RobinsonTim Robinson, CEO at Doddle told us: “Doddle was created to capitalise on the booming online retail market and the increasing demands by customers for more convenient delivery solutions. It offers a premium service that is unique in the marketplace with dedicated and stylish shops, advanced technology and highly trained staff delivering a high-end customer experience. It is the next major step in the online shopping phenomenon, providing a parcel collection, returns and delivery service that has customer choice and convenience at its very heart.

The Doddle service will be the only one of its kind that is available to every retailer, e-tailer, parcel carrier and shipper, creating a network of single points for the collection, return and sending of parcels. This open access approach aims to enable retailers and carriers to enhance and complement their existing delivery offering, and also allow the consumer to combine collections and returns from multiple retailers into one trip at a time that suits them or coincides with an already planned journey.

The big question of course is will eBay integrate Doddle into their new Managed Returns program soon to become compulsory. If you want to use Doddle for your business you can contact Doddle through their website or at business@doddle.it to find out more about setting up an account.

  • JD
    3 years ago

    Why are Network Rail using management resource on this?

    Surely they (Network Rail) as owner of the greater part of Rail infrastructure in the UK are setting themselves up for lot of criticism next time they have a big rail project go bad?

    After all WH Smith have shops at many stations but Network Rail are not part of their management!

    I am sure that Chris will be along soon so I am off to the shed.

  • northumbrian
    3 years ago

    whats new
    the post office has a similar service in just about every high st?
    and if your really fussy they will even arrange delivery to your door

    • 3 years ago

      Its a sort of revamped Red Star Service from years ago. Red Star was at Railway Stations and the parcels used to be put onto convenient passenger trains into the parcel area by the Guards area. Then when the train stopped at the right station the Red Star parcels for that Station were unloaded and put into the Red Star area or perhaps were delivered around the area often using ‘Mechanical Horses and box trailers’. For the younger readers ‘Mechanical Horses’ were 3 wheeled tractor units(like a tractor unit on an articulated lorry). There are still a few around on such as Preserved Railways but none still in active service.

      So I wonder if the New Service will also use Passenger Trains to transport the parcels and if so where are they going to put them as many, if not all trains these days do not have parcel areas.

      If they are not going to transport by Rail then why bother putting them at Railway Stations, except perhaps that Stations tend to have good parking areas and Network Rail have driven out so many of the Shops that used to be at Stations by the very high rents.

    • 3 years ago

      I think the rational for putting them in stations is as per above 100 million went through Waterloo alone last year. If a large number of commuters are doing their daily grind to work on the choo choo it’s a darn sight easier for them to drop their Asos/Littlewoods/Next/Argos/A.N.Other eBay seller’s returns off at the station than it is to hike into a Post Office and face the lunch time queue

    • northumbrian
      3 years ago

      so there will be no queue with a hundred million going thru ?

      and all those commuters potentially humping packages and boxes
      what happens when the taliban do another 7/7

    • 3 years ago

      I guess a lost parcel would be the least of your worries if you were caught in a 7/7!!!

      As for queues, I can’t see it being worse than the queue in the station for tickets/Coffee or your morning paper from all good retailers or WHSmith

    • northumbrian
      3 years ago

      lost parcels are not the point ,
      there are security concerns with parcels and packages .
      are all these extra parcels that may be brought in by the general public screened or checked in anyway

    • JD
      3 years ago

      I can confidently state that they will not be conveying any of these parcels by train.

      There is no resource to load/secure/offload even where there is space. And there is no scope whatsoever in station dwell times.

      But I do quite like the idea of an announcement over the PA:

      ‘We regret to announce the late running of the 10.00 to Edinburgh – this is due to an awkward eBay customer’

  • Cambridge_Blue
    3 years ago

    As Chris says the target market for this are rail commuters and a few people who pick them up not the great unwashed just turning up at the station with a parcel.
    A few stations may be favourably located with good, fast & free short stay parking but most stations (like Cambridge) treat drivers like the plague so it is effectively a no go area for most busy people like me.
    The backhaul of the parcels looks to be via road transport and not by rail which is to be expected given how inflexible rail freight is these days for this type of commodity.

  • Steve
    3 years ago

    Nope, won’t work.. You ever been to a train station? 100 million footfall equates to about 10million more people than seats. Punters have no time for messing around with parcels, its dead before it starts.

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