Business development · 3 November 2015

How one small business is hoping to deliver a merry Christmas to the UK’s shoppers

Postboxed.co.uk founders Markus Polleichtner and Liza Mirelman
Postboxed.co.uk founders Markus Polleichtner and Liza Mirelman

As Christmas draws closer, one new business is hoping to solve the perennial problem for many online shoppers – of chasing after missed deliveries when they’re not home and the parcel doesn’t fit through the letterbox.

Postboxed.co.uk has been created by Markus Polleichtner and Liza Mirelman after feeling fed up at repeatedly travelling to the local post office to collect parcels. “We are among millions of customers who are frustrated with this situation,” they said. “As companies trial increasingly complex ways of delivering parcels – including the use of drones – we believe there is a simpler solution.”

Their website stocks retailers’ goods that can be delivered straight to shoppers’ homes, “bypassing failed deliveries and the need for delivery offices”.

“We knew there had to be a hassle-free solution to the problem of missed deliveries, side-stepping the need to annoy neighbours with failed delivers, lost parcels left outside or waiting at delivery offices,” Mirelman said.

All gifts offered on the site measure less than seven inches by 1.4 inches, including packaging, and are guaranteed to fit through 99 per cent of UK letterboxes. There’s no legal requirement in the UK to follow the specifications set out in the European Standard covering private letter boxes, but more than 95 per cent of UK letter boxes measure seven inches x 1.4 inches or more.

Polleichtner and Mirelman say there are some UK letter boxes which measure six inches by one inch, but these are extremely rare (and 80 per cent of their product range fits this size).

postboxed3

So far, they have focused on stocking products from small and medium-sized firms, with 80 per cent of the site’s products coming from them, along with several brands such as Ted Baker and Molesike. “We wanted Postboxed to offer affordable, high-quality, out of the ordinary British products, which led to us focusing on British SMEs,” they explained.

Some 25 brands are currently featured on the site, with a product range of over 200, though the aim is to bump that up to 300 by Christmas. They feel the opportunity from there is wide-ranging, with “huge potential to showcase more postboxed products”, if retailers make a concentrated effort to filter out their smaller products for this very purpose.

Given that 10.4m parcels are expected to be carded this Christmas – up from 9.2m in 2014, there is “a clear need” the co-founders think they can address. Their own research has flagged up nearly 30 per cent of retailers’ product ranges could feasibly be postboxed – if they adhered to strict packaging guidelines.

Ecommerce has of course, been a revelation – for both shoppers and retailers alike. Online retail sales are predicted to reach £52.5bn in the UK this year, a 16.2 per cent increase on 2014, when the figure stood at £44.97bn. The study conducted by RetailMeNot and the Centre for Retail Research said this equates to 15.2 per cent of all retail sales in the UK. This means on average UK consumers will have spent £1,174 online in 2015 – making them the most frequent online shoppers in Europe.

Unsurprisingly, ecommerce is driving the growth in consumer spending across Europe – while in-store sales were predicted to drop 1.4 per cent for the year, an increase of 18.4 per cent in online sales would help total retail revenues rise by an average of two per cent.

With many retailers of all sizes doing what they can to provide a streamlined online experience for customers, and a consistent online offering, the one ongoing trouble has been rising customer expectation meaning many retailers are scrabbling to keep up when it comes to delivery.

Some of the products available on the website
Some of the products available on the website

Polleichtner said the duo feel “the delivery dilemma is the major issue the ecommerce industry needs to solve”, with so many UK shoppers reiterating that a good delivery experience will help keep them loyal to a particular retailer.

The IMRG UK Consumer Home Delivery Review 2015, surveying 1,300 adult consumers, found nearly half of shoppers consider delivery a barrier to shopping online, with the concern being “the risk of no one being at home to receive the order”.

While the goal for the near future is to help many UK consumers lessen at least some of the hassle that comes with shopping at Christmas, Polleichtner and Mirelman do have their sights set firmly on bigger things.

“There’s an exciting opportunity to expand across Europe as specifications for the size of all letterboxes are set out in the European Standard,” they pointed out. If all goes to plan, next on the to-do list is becoming “an international hub for postboxed gifts”.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Rebecca is a reporter for Business Advice. Prior to this, she worked with a range of tech, advertising, media and digital clients at Propeller PR and did freelance work for The Telegraph.

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