InPost expands UK footprint as ‘out of home’ delivery picks up steam

After conquering last-mile deliveries in Poland, InPost is steadily growing its UK presence with 2,000 locations, experienced hires, & express return policies.
26 August 2021

InPost is steadily growing its UK presence with 2,000 locations, experienced hires, & express return policies. Source: Shutterstock

Leading out of home and e-commerce delivery company, InPost, revealed the deployment of its 2,000th automated parcel machine – or locker unit – in the UK this month, signaling the healthy growth of alternative parcel delivery options to home deliveries in the UK.

InPost had been expanding its network of lockers across the UK, doubling its coverage in the last six months with around 900 automated parcel machines installed on the islands so far in 2021. This gives InPost approximately 140,000 individual locker compartments for consumers to collect and return their orders.

And the quickening pace of installations is only set to continue, with the business on track to have more locker locations in London, Manchester and Birmingham than there are Post Offices. The rapid expansion highlights not just the rising usage of e-commerce platforms and last-mile delivery alternatives in the UK, but the growing reliance on out-of-home (OOH) delivery locations like InPost for busy urbanites in major metropolitan areas.

In contrast with regular home deliveries, there are clear benefits to adopting out-of-home deliveries for consumers, merchants, and carriers. For consignees, having OOH delivery options gives them flexibility and control in their last-mile decision-making, where they can pick up parcels at a designated location, within a convenient time frame. For merchants and carriers, OOH allows for the consolidation of deliveries, which decreases both delivery costs and the average delivery time. Likewise, consumers can consolidate their packages at a central location, and pick them up at their convenience.

In 2020, 10 billion parcels were shipped in the EU & UK, the first time the 10 billion parcel threshold had been crossed. By 2025, a report on European OOH logistics by Last Mile Experts suggests we might see as much as 20 billion – and that figure could even double again by 2029.

The Last Mile Experts study profiles 28 key OOH players in the European market, and of those, Poland-based InPost is one that prioritizes automated lockers as their primary method. Post offices have been a commonplace out of home delivery point for many years, but in Poland, InPost lockers have come to dominate the market with nearly half of all (45%) OOH deliveries via aggressive rollouts, strong retailer partnerships, and changing the consumer mindset with delivery price discounts.

Even in a crowded environment with stiff market competition including DPD, UPS, FedEx, and the Poczta Polska’s network of post offices, InPost has rolled out over 10,000 automated parcel machines there – and has helped define the last mile delivery scene there, where between around a third (30-40%) of all e-commerce parcels are delivered out-of-home.

Now InPost is looking to solidify its international expansion, with UK one of the key markets targeted. InPost lockers can be found at convenient locations like train stations and petrol kiosks, and are available 24/7. The lockers also allow for a contactless delivery experience, which along with driving e-commerce deliveries and eventually consumer to consumer (C2C) deliveries, the company hopes to grow to become one of the largest automated parcel networks in the UK, with ambitions for over 10,000 locker units to be in operation by 2024.

Showing how serious it is about UK expansion, InPost has been partnering with prominent brands like Missguided, JD Sports, and Lidl. Recently, the OOH specialist has also been hiring individuals for key positions who have strong technology business experience.

Along with growing the UK team, InPost has also been growing its portfolio of service offerings, such as announcing Instant Returns whereby users can easily return a product using QR codes instead of printing a return label. And to ease use for e-commerce sellers, InPost now provides digital receipts so that both e-tailers and item returners can keep track of their deliveries.

“We are incredibly proud to have installed our 2,000th locker in the UK on the back of an explosion in demand by UK consumers, who want the convenience of 24/7, self-service collection or returns of goods via lockers,” Jason Tavaria, CEO of InPost UK, was quoted as saying. “Shoppers are fed up of waiting in all day for a delivery or queuing up to return an item. Given the strong UK network and landlord relationships InPost has developed, we feel we are in a prime place to take advantage of this.”