28 August 2015 (Updated: 15:00 GMT)

Start-up Parcelly delivers on convenience

As innovation into the final mile continues apace, I recently had the opportunity to explore a new solution looking to answer the call for more convenient delivery. Dubbed ‘Parcelly,’ the London-based start-up aims to ‘simplify your delivery’ via its app, which helps consumers find more convenient locations to collect online orders. Keen to find out more, I sat down for a chat with MD Sebastian Steinhauser.

Since its inception some seven months ago, Parcelly has been rapidly building a network of local businesses to serve as collection points or ‘Parcelly locations’. The company now boasts some 113 concessions in London and are already eyeing expansion in Cambridge and Kent. Being an app-based solution, the model is easily scalable and can be rapidly rolled out.

The concept is neatly straightforward – users select a convenient Parcelly location and then use that address when ordering online. A Parcelly ID is built into the address to help identify products and users can also track orders and receive notifications once successfully collected.

While for now it seems the user journey could perhaps be a bit smoother (currently you need both the app and retailer website open), what is clear is that Parcelly’s advantage is its convenience-orientated nature – as our latest Shopology data shows that 46% of UK shopper retailer choice is influenced by the offer of convenient collection points for online orders.

However, the start-up is competing against some well-established brands in the UK (think Doddle and Collect+), so I needed to know – where is the differentiation? For Steinhauser, the crux is that, rather than being bound to partnering retailers, á la Collect+, shoppers can use the app to pick up from any retailer or courier worldwide (who ships to the UK, of course), broadening the potential scope of the business.

The service currently costs GBP1.99 for a one-off delivery, or GBP7.99 monthly for unlimited deliveries. While modest, payment is on top of the retailer’s own delivery fees, which may deter ever price-conscious consumers. Steinhauser said Parcelly hopes to work more closely with retailers to take on these charges, although, interestingly, I think this speaks to a broader issue of managing the growing disconnect between consumer expectation and the long-term sustainability of click & collect.

Moving forward, we can expect to see further experimentation – such as door-to-door delivery from Parcelly locations, as well as establishing a network of individuals who will receive parcels for consumers in their local areas.

As with any start-up there’s always the challenge of building up a strong brand presence that truly resonates with the consumer, particularly in a segment as competitive as fulfilment. However, Parcelly’s mobile-first approach certainly gives it headroom for experimentation with ways to get even closer to the consumer and I for one will be keeping an eye out to see what they deliver next!