Insight / Blog

7 tactics to drive self-service parcel drop-off adoption

Posted on 21st March 2024

Summary: Focusing on parcel kiosks, we explore 7 tactics to encourage customer adoption and drive volume into out-of-home (OOH) delivery networks.

Self-service solutions are great opportunities for carriers to expand out-of-home (OOH) delivery networks, provide automated journeys and deliver a great customer experience while reducing staff dependency in pick-up and drop-off (PUDO) locations.

Recently, we explored whether parcel lockers or kiosks were the best for parcel drop-off. While parcel lockers serve a dual purpose in automating both delivery and returns, when it comes to the drop-off experience specifically, the different types of self-service kiosks offer much greater flexibility at significantly lower costs to deploy, and can handle surprisingly large volumes of parcels.

Focusing on parcel kiosks, let’s explore the next stage of the journey – ensuring that volume is driven into the PUDO network to reap the rewards and benefits on offer. Read on to discover 7 strategies to encourage customer adoption and drive volume.

1.  Feature your OOH kiosk options at the start of the journey

The first step to driving volume into OOH locations is to increase awareness. If customers don’t know they exist, how can they be expected to use them?

PUDO locations must be presented to consumers at the start of their drop-off journey. It’s the same concept as parcel collection – if customers don’t see the option to use OOH collection at checkout, how would they know to select it instead of home delivery? And if they’re not aware that they have a self-serve returns option available around the corner from home, they might never use it, even if it could save them tons of time and effort. When customers initiate returns on a digital returns portal, they should be presented with a list of self-service location options to complete the drop-off.

Promoting these locations on digital portals is especially important for paperless drop-offs, as self-service drop-off kiosks remove a barrier for those who don’t have a printer at home. Within the list of OOH locations in that returns initiation journey, logistics providers should visually highlight this printerless advantage, to encourage customers to use the self-service option.

Turn ecommerce returns into growth

Our returns platform reduces costs, increases efficiency, and improves the customer experience, so you can give your customers a solution to one of their biggest problems.

Find Out More

2. Incentivise customers to use self-service options

Rewards and offers are a great way to incentivise customers to use self-service solutions as part of their drop-off journey. This can be done through discounts, as exemplified by Amazon, which includes a QR code at the end of its onscreen kiosk journey that offers customers $2 off a $5 purchase. Alternatively, Kohls provides customers a gift card on their returns receipt, offering them a discount for in-store spending.

Rewards are a great way of getting customers to break ingrained routines and try something new. Once customers have used the kiosk and had a positive experience, they will be more likely to select that option again, having discovered the benefits for themselves.

Ongoing reward systems can also be used to encourage repeated usage rather than promoting first-time offers. For example, Evri provides Tesco Clubcard loyalty scheme points when a drop-off is completed.

3. Use partnerships to your advantage

Partnerships are a good way to drive volume into self-service networks, particularly by teaming up with C2C providers for drop-off volume.

Evri is a great example here, using partnerships with eBay and Vinted to gain access to a lucrative market of 22 million and 8 million active users in the UK respectively. Using these platforms, Evri has launched Vinted-generated QR codes designed for use on its Print In ParcelShop devices, and invested in joint social media influencer programs, where influencers highlight the benefits of Vinted and the convenience of sending parcels via Evri’s ParcelShops for greater awareness of their drop-off solutions.

The latest annual report shows that this tactic is paying off for Evri, as the carrier had 70% more parcels than 2019/20 despite the slight drop in overall UK parcel volume last year. In addition, its adjusted EBITDA has more than doubled in the same period.

4. Ensure optimal kiosk placements in store

As well as choosing the right location for kiosks, their placement within the store can make a big difference to the drop-off volume received. The optimum placement of kiosks ultimately depends on the context of the store and its objectives. However, after our own drop-off kiosk rollouts, we’ve put together a list of best practices for kiosk placements.

Firstly, parcel kiosks should be placed where customers will drop off parcels or receive help. For example, if customers are used to going to a service desk, the kiosk should be placed next to it as an obvious alternative. Otherwise, placing kiosks next to an entrance can help to draw attention when customers enter the store.

Secondly, kiosks need to be placed in an easily accessible and visible location. They shouldn’t be hidden out of the way in corners, but in an obvious space that is not difficult to find. The easier the kiosk is to find and use, the better the experience the customer will have.

Finally, kiosks shouldn’t be obstructed by or surrounded by other hardware. Customers need a clear line of sight to drive more volume to the devices.

5. Clear & sufficient signage

As well as placing kiosks in optimum positions within their own post offices, parcel shops and 3rd party locations, logistics service providers should also ensure they also support PUDO partners with signage so that customers can easily tell where and how to drop off their parcels. The best practice is to use end-to-end directional signage throughout the store so that when customers enter, they can see a clear path through the aisles to the kiosk.

 Next to the kiosk, it can be helpful to include iconography and clear instructions for usage if needed, but remember to keep it simple and brief. Customers don’t want to feel like they have to read an instruction manual to drop off an item. If presented with barriers like this, they are more likely to revert to over-the-counter solutions as a more straightforward approach.

Clear and attention-grabbing signage also has the benefit of advertising the service to other shoppers, who are then more likely to try the self-service option in future.

6. Divert from existing solutions

We are creatures of habit. If customers are used to going to a counter to drop parcels off, logistics service providers need to change this behaviour to drive more usage to self-service solutions. Changing customer behaviour is no mean feat, but there are some measures that you can take in-store to try to redirect customers from their usual habits into using kiosk solutions instead.

If the space allows, placing the kiosk next to the returns desk or counter can help redirect customers, particularly when paired with attention-grabbing signage to inform customers to use the kiosk instead of the counter. For example, when the kiosk is first placed in a store, signs can be used around the counter to direct customers to the kiosk rather than to queue at the counter for parcel drop-offs.

7. Utilise your marketing channels

A great way to generate awareness of self-service kiosk solutions is by utilising existing marketing channels to inform customers of new self-service options before they start the journey and test marketing strategy for future potential rollouts.

For example, local advertising can be used to promote OOH self-service drop-off solutions to customers who are closest to the physical kiosk locations. This can include adding banners to existing communication with consumers to highlight new kiosk options and sending out targeted email campaigns to those who have used carrier services in the past.

Driving volume into PUDO and self-service options

The common theme among these tactics is the importance of having a strategy to promote both the overall network of PUDO locations, as well as the self-service options within it. Any OOH network will fail to live up to its potential without a concerted effort to make customers aware and incentivise them to try it out, whether the drop-off process is automated or not.

Once consumers start using self-service kiosks for drop-offs, we know they will be more likely to use them again in the future. Past data at Doddle shows that once a consumer has used PUDO more than once, they will use it an average of 13 times a year, and self-service options are also incredibly popular with consumers.

Our kiosk solutions have also had consistently high NPS, with an average of 93% customer satisfaction. Getting that better customer experience in front of more customers at least once is the key to overall adoption and repeat usage.

Automated parcel drop-offs that delight customers

Consolidate returns, increase footfall to host partners, and give customers the best experience: no pre-printed labels, no packaging required, and done in as little 60 seconds.

Find out more

Related articles

Lessons from a decade in the first and last mile

A decade as Doddle taught us some lessons - and Blue Yonder helps us see what will matter in the next decade.

Postal results, reforms, and returns

Posts around the world are seeking reform, but how can they drive improved results in the short term?

5 ways to digitise your returns process and increase profitability

Discover the 5 easy ways to digitise your returns process for better returns efficiency and ROI.

Sign up for our newsletter to stay on top of the latest industry trends, challenges and solutions.


Doddle needs the contact information you provide to send you our monthly newsletter. You may unsubscribe at any time. Doddle will not sell your information to any 3rd parties. For more information, please review our Privacy Policy.

Wrong value for the component.
Wrong value for the component.Wrong value for the component.Wrong value for the component.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.