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How to ship during Coronavirus lockdown

By Chris Dawson March 24, 2020 - 11:15 am

There’s little point the Government saying Online retail is still open and encouraged and postal and delivery service will run as normal if you don’t ship items, but there are plenty of ways to ship during Coronavirus lockdown still reducing the need to see people and maintain social distancing.

Our best advice is to talk to your Postie and carriers. Don’t be grumpy if collections are late or missed. They are doing an amazing job in what can only be a worrying time and they’ll appreciate kindness and consideration while they keep the country running. Also, check couriers website for up to date information on what services they can offer and any restrictions they have in place.

You should remember that just as signature on deliveries have been suspended for the foreseeable future, you may not get a signature on collection and shouldn’t expect it.

How to ship during Coronavirus lockdown

The Post Office

Yes, Post Offices are still open but naturally you will want to visit them as infrequently as possible and reduce the amount of time you are in them. Often they are in shops so smaller sellers can combine dropping parcels off with essential shopping to cut down on trips.

If you do use a Post Office, you can still prepare your parcels and print labels online. If you can use an alternative below that doesn’t involve as much human contact as a Post Office we would strongly recommend it, not just for your own health but for those of others who may have no option other than to be picking up groceries.

“We know how important Post Office branches are to our customers. And we, alongside our postmasters and branch colleagues, are doing all that we can to keep our branches open so that we can continue to provide our products and services to you and your communities.

At the moment, the majority of our branches are open as usual and our supply chain is running as normal. Our priority is to keep our customers, postmasters and colleagues safe and healthy. We have advised everyone working in our branches to practice good hand hygiene and we ask that our customers do the same, as well as maintaining a sensible distance between other customers and our colleagues.”
– Nick Read, CEO, Post Office Group

Royal Mail Click & Drop

Everyone should be buying postage online either through the likes of eBay Shipping or through services such as Click & Drop for Royal Mail.

Parcel Post Boxes and Pillar Boxes

It should go without saying that if you can drop parcels in a Pillar Box this is the best way to ship during Coronavirus lockdown. For larger items, Royal Mail also have 1,400 parcel postboxes across the UK, generally outside local Delivery Offices. You can drop your parcels off 24 hours a day and they will be emptied daily. Whilst collection times from both Pillar Boxes and Parcel Post Boxes will vary, you can ask your local Postie (from a minimum of 2m away!) or contact your Delivery Office to find out what time of day your local Parcel Post Boxes are emptied.

“We will continue providing the best delivery service for you and protect the health of our people, and our customers. We have provided guidance to our people to help prevent the spread of any infection. We are doing so in line with preventative guidance from Public Health Authority. We have also made a series of adjustments to our parcel handling procedures. We are keeping our ways of working under continuous review.”
– Royal Mail

ParcelShops

Both Hermes and Collect Plus have a large network of parcelshops where you can drop off parcels for delivery.

“Following the recent outbreak of Covid-19 in the UK we’ve put in place a number of measures to protect our customers as well as our parcel people, so we can make sure that our business is as prepared as possible.

We would like to reassure you that we’re actively following all government guidelines as health and safety remains the top priority across our business to protect our customers and our people.

Public Health England has advised that people receiving parcels are not at increased risk of contracting the virus as it doesn’t survive long on non-metallic surfaces.

There is currently no impact on our parcel delivery services but you will see some differences in how your courier will go about delivering your parcel from now on as we reduce physical contact.”
– Hermes

“We want to assure you that although the current situation is challenging and uncertain for everyone, we are taking it very seriously. We have always strived to provide the best possible service and under the current circumstances we have reviewed our delivery options to you and have listed them below. We have put plans and processes in place to further protect our colleagues and our business, ensuring we continue to deliver a good and robust service to you.

Yodel will aim to issue updates on a regular basis in line with guidance from the government and public health regarding all our services here in the UK and for any effect this will have on our International service.”
– Collect Plus

Couriers

If you have a regular Royal Mail or Courier collection, contact your courier to check that deliveries will take place to the normal schedule. You should also ask if there are any special arrangements and help by having collections outside the building ready for pick up whenever possible.

If you need to book a courier for collection, services are generally running as normal and can be booked through eBay Postage, Parcel Consolidators, or directly on courier’s own website. Again if you are booking an ad hoc courier, have your parcels labelled, ready and outside for collection. I wouldn’t worry too much about leaving them outside your front door… absolutely no one should be visiting your property other than couriers and naturally you’ll be at home and should be aware if anyone else attempts to visit.

Parcel Lockers

InPost, which has a UK-wide network of automated parcel delivery lockers, has seen their usage surge 60% over the past week as consumers look for contact-free options to receive their online orders or send out parcels. InPost’s lockers are available 24/7 meaning people can use them when they feel it’s likely to be quiet, and as they are self-service there is no need for human interaction therefore helping people maintain social distancing.

The lockers are opened by scanning a QR code on a mobile phone so people can just pick up – or return – items from the lockers which are spread across the UK in more than 850 locations including at a number of major supermarkets like Morrisons as well as rail stations, petrol stations etc. They also work with a range of major couriers including the likes of Hermes, DHL Express and DX.

Further Reading

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Featured in this article from the Tamebay Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.

Royal Mail

Royal Mail is the leading provider of postal and parcel delivery services in the UK. We deliver to over 230 countries and territories worldwide.

Post Office

With over 11,500 branches across the UK the Post Office has the greatest number of parcel drop off shops

CollectPlus

Parcels made easy. Send, collect and return parcels at your local store from early till late, 7 days a week.

Yodel

Yodel is one of the largest delivery companies for B2B and B2C orders, serving many of the UK’s leading retailers

Hermes

If you send plenty of parcels, then myHermes is the perfect partner for you.

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Jim: Leave it out For christ sake credit where credits due This is not the time for Petty...
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Daniel: Let's hope they're not lobbed over walls and into gardens or lost like usual...
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Jim: We dont think the government intention For post offices to operate as normal. online to operations...
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Nick: @Chris, I'm actually a big fan of these lockers, particularly because they can be used to...