Meet the service: Drop & Go
Having sold for ten years on eBay, I wish a service such as Drop & Go had been available to me at the time. As a sole trader I had to do everything in the business from shipping orders to going and collecting new stock, attending auctions, keeping up to date with accounts and everything else that running an eBay business entailed.
My daily routine was to go to the warehouse and pick and pack orders and then drop them at the Post Office on the way back home or go off to collect new stock. This meant I didn’t want a daily Royal Mail collection as sometimes I’d start work early and be done by mid-morning, waiting all day for a 3pm or 4pm collection simply wouldn’t have worked for me.
What I did face on a daily basis was the queue at the Post Office, often behind other marketplace sellers each with ten or twenty parcels to post. I’d have loved the opportunity to use Drop & Go to jump the queue and speed up my day so today we talk to the Mark Siviter, Managing Director – Mails and Retail at the Post Office to find out more about the Drop & Go service and how it can save you time:
What is Drop & Go?
Drop & Go is a fast-track drop-off service for online marketplace sellers, small businesses and anyone who regularly sends mail. It does exactly as its name suggests: customers avoid waiting in the main queue, drop off their parcels and go. Their items are then processed by the Post Office team before the Royal Mail collection that same day. The Drop & Go service is available in most of our 11,600 Post Office branches, and over 100,000 customers have signed up for it…it’s our fastest growing solution for parcel senders.
What are the benefits?
Drop & Go has been designed specifically with marketplace seller’s needs in mind because we understand the importance of their time. Drop & Go is essentially a VIP service for our frequent senders. The pre-paid card service ensures customers spend less time in branch, freeing up more of their time to spend on the other aspects of running their own business. Our latest research with marketplace sellers confirmed that convenience, trust and proof of posting are the key things customers look to their postal providers for. Post Office has always prided itself on these qualities, and now with Drop & Go we’ve made it even more convenient for customers.
Drop & Go is also an effective way for Post Office branches to recognise and reward our customers. The service itself provides convenience and flexibility for online sellers, however it’s the personal touch of our postmasters across the UK that can really make the customer experience even more valuable. Some people start selling on eBay as a spare-time hobby and end up running quite large businesses. The Post Office plays a key role in nurturing these growing businesses. We know that many of their owners will turn to their postmaster for help and advice, especially in the early stages. Our postmasters are running small businesses themselves which means they really understand and appreciate, more than most, the needs of other small businesses.
Why would you use this service over a competitor?
Drop & Go promises a quick drop-off service at the Post Office. So rather than waiting around all day for a courier collection, or joining a queue to drop-off, customers can drop off at a convenient time for them. And this can vary day-to-day to fit in their changing schedules.
We know that many smaller sellers do not have home printing facilities and another benefit over competitors is that we’ll print your postage labels for you in branch so no printing is required. Alongside label printing, our branches will also weigh or measure your items too. With over 300 years’ experience of post, you can trust us to get it right!
How does Drop & Go work?
It’s quick and easy to get started. Download and complete the Drop & Go application form and take it to your nearest branch with some ID. You’ll be given a Drop & Go card to use straight away. Then it’s simple:
- Drop off your items to post to the fast-track counter (or agreed drop-off point at your local branch) with your completed manifest
- We will process them for you on the same day
- The cost will be deducted from your prepaid card
- If you’re sending anything tracked or if you need any certificates of posting, we’ll keep those receipts ready for you to collect the next time you come and see us
- Also, make sure you’ve registered your account online and linked your card. This gives you 24/7 access your Drop & Go account online
What’s next for Drop & Go?
Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and that’s why we are investing in our Drop & Go service to meet and exceed the expectations of our customers. Some of the features coming soon to Drop & Go include:
- Real-time item level information online – you can already see your basket level information online and soon you’ll be able to access item level information including tracking numbers online too. You’ll still need to collect your paper Certificate of Postings from your branch on your next visit.
- Linking your eBay account to your Drop & Go account to create your manifest online
- PayPal as a method of payment
And many more… Look out for these updates and new tools over the forthcoming weeks, Tamebay will be the first to know when they’re live!
Where can marketplace sellers go for more information?
Visit our website for more information postoffice.co.uk/dropandgo or talk to your local branch about the Drop & Go service.
Open a Drop & Go Account
Open up a Drop & Go account today by visiting: postoffice.co.uk/dropandgo
Sounds great….. in reality though many small post offices are now within other shops and dont like having to hold quanities of parcels and also if they are really busy….. i can see them not being done in time, but we wouldnt be aware (queue the late delivery strikes!)
So yes for some it will work great…. for others it will be a nightmare. When we used to frank stuff we would often have 4 or 5 sacks…. our post office used to complain about this and in the end we had to go to the sorting office with it instead!
There needs to be set levels so people can be sure that it will be accepted.
As a drop and go user, i can say that the service is ok.
A few issues i have encountered are:
Royal Mail API import all orders from all channels regardless of if they are pending or already shipped.
Thus if using other fulfilment methods eg. amazon fba, these orders all need deleting first.
The other issue is after paying and printing, the dispatch is a separate option.
Even when dispatched it also does not pull through and auto confirm the orders on market places.
They really should take a leaf out of hermes system for Imports…
Although hermes themselves are a nightmare for different reasons, mostly loosing parcels and reimbursing..
Be careful though if you do not realise you need to dispatch straight after the printing of the postage label.
Even though it does not auto-confirm the orders in amazon.. It still sends a shipment confirmation through strangely.
We did not realise it would do this when tidying up the Dashboard weeks later.
Amazon have classed these as late shipments, even though they were confirmed manually on time… Due to the late shipment confirmation coming from the royal mail API!
Account now at RISK.
Ahh I have personally had it with Royal Mail…
We have a tracked returns account with them, and when we signed up we told Royal Mail we wouldn’t have huge amounts of returns, to which they said don’t worry, in 12 months your account will be reassessed and if you don’t send what we think you will then the price may change.
Fair enough, and today we get a letter to advise a review of our returns aren’t as high as Royal Mail want and will be cancelling the service.
Nice to see Royal Mail turning away money, for a service which doesn’t really cost them anything.
We are now in the process of moving all but our large letters away from Royal Mail because of this.
Won’t be long before in my eyes they will be in serious trouble financially with more and more people moving to other providers.
Isn’t the requirement 1000 packages a year across all tracked services (Tracked 24/48, Tracked Returns 24/48, and International Tracked / Signed)?
So it might not be that you didn’t receive enough returns but rather you didn’t send enough tracked packages.
@ k, no – they don’t include Tracked Returns – thats calculated separately and can’t be included with the rest.
@Alan, bottom of this page says it’s combined 1000 like the other Tracked services: https://business.help.royalmail.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/717
Not a bad system but as the saying goes could do better:
1. Unless you jump back and forward to your truly awful old OBA interface you have no idea what the mail is costing.
2. Be great to add my logo.
3. OBA staff don’t know enough about C&D and vice versa so if there’s a problem or if you need help it ends a 30 minute call at 5p a minute!
4. RM staff don’t want to know about our manifests
5. I’ve already lost 3 items of mail using this system and half the value due to lack of compensation.
Apart from this I like it. Switched from franking to this system