Insight / Blog

Case Study: What carriers can learn from Evri’s returns kiosk network

Posted on 21st November 2023

Summary: Evri's use of kiosks provides a great lesson for carriers on expanding PUDO networks and capturing volume in the valuable returns and C2C segments.

Evri has achieved a dense UK network of over 8,500 parcel shops and lockers in just a few short years. Its rapid expansion has been assisted thanks to the deployment of its small-format kiosk, which reduces the work store staff must do to accept returns and C2C parcel sends across its drop-off points.

The carrier provides a great case study for the potential of small format kiosk technology, particularly for PUDO network expansion and capturing more parcel volume in the valuable returns and C2C segments.

What are small-format Kiosks?

Self-service parcel kiosks come in a variety of formats and sizes, including dropboxes, full sized Drop-Off Kiosks, POS kiosks, Through-The-Wall Kiosks and Counter-Top Kiosks – all of which we’ve explored in our guide to self-service parcel kiosks.

Today, we’re focusing on the small-format kiosks (Counter-Top Kiosks). These are lightweight and portable versions of self-service kiosks, consisting of a tablet screen attached to a small label printer, QR scanner and sometimes a payment terminal. In terms of size, they can fit onto almost any available surface in a store.

For Evri, these kiosks are named Print In ParcelShop devices. The devices have all the above features of a touchscreen, printer, QR scanner and payment terminal, usually attached to an additional packing terminal. This is filled with relevant items for sale, like packing tape and envelopes that consumers might need to pack and send from one station.

A key driver in network expansion and volume

Before the launch of Evri’s Print In ParcelShop devices, consumers had to book and pay for delivery on the company’s website, print a label at home, and physically hand parcels over the counter at a ParcelShop. This was not a particularly convenient process, and those without access to a printer had a frustrating return experience trying to find a way to print a label.

In recognition of those limitations, the Print In ParcelShop devices were developed to remove barriers for those without home printers, provide consumers with an easier journey, and to help the carrier expand its PUDO network into more independent businesses and fuel stations – businesses which work well as pick-up and drop-off points, but have little staff time to spare printing labels and processing return drop-offs.

As well as contributing to Evri’s network expansion, the devices also boosted parcel volumes for the courier. In 2020, the devices were reported to lift parcel volumes by an average of 15%.

Tapping into a lucrative C2C market

A big driver in growing parcel volumes for Evri was utilising key partnerships with online marketplaces such as eBay and Vinted. With 22 million and 8 million active users in the UK respectively, partnering with eBay and Vinted  gave Evri a route into a growing and lucrative C2C market. 

This is an area that Evri is continuously investing in. This year, the carrier 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. 

Targeting the C2C market is paying off for Evri, as the latest annual report shows the carrier is carrying 70% more parcels than it was in 2019/20 (all the more impressive given the slight drop in overall UK parcel volume in the last year),  with adjusted EBITDA more than doubling in the same period.

“We have held onto the accelerated volume growth experienced over the course of the previous two years and managed to grow ahead of the market.”


Next stage: improving the customer experience

Evri’s Print In ParcelShop devices have been a great tool for network expansion and increasing parcel volume. The next step should be an evolution, building on the great benefits of self-service devices while increasing reliability and reducing staff time requirements.

The current generation of Print in Parcelshop devices have a user journey that saves time and some staff effort compared to traditional PUDO, but the journey has some flaws. Customers must still wait for staff to attend them, so that the staff member can manually scan the parcel after the label has been printed and attached, and then hand over a paper receipt.

That hampers one of the biggest potential benefits of a small-format returns kiosk, which is how easy it could be for consumers to scan their own parcel and simply hand it over to a staff member, receiving a receipt automatically through their email. Even better, it gives staff even less to do to process parcels.

It’s not uncommon to find the Print in Parcelshop devices out of order in stores which could be from several issues, from connectivity problems, overcapacity, or staff inexperience.

Improving the availability of self-service devices requires constant monitoring and hardware support to catch issues as they develop and mitigate against them. Hardware upgrades to allow consumers to scan and process their own parcels would enable an even faster handover, as well as opening up the possibility of completely unattended drop-offs to a simple dropbox or bag – meaning staff just have to empty the box once it’s full, rather than personally accept each return as it comes in.

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

On the software side, ensuring that automated communications are connected to scanning events would enable receipts to be automatically generated and sent via email, ensuring staff don’t have to manually print anything off and customers can’t lose their receipts.

What other carriers can learn from Evri

Small format kiosks are a great way to boost the growth of PUDO networks into locations where space and/or staff time is limited, as they’re lightweight and easy to deploy in a range of physical locations, and their versatility when it comes to the parcel handover.

If the kiosk is integrated with a drop-box, consumers can place parcels inside without queueing at the counter or interacting with staff at all. In addition, the kiosks can also be moved and repositioned as required, making it easy to adapt to new store layouts and flows. For example, the Counter-Top Kiosk could be placed next to big ticket or seasonal items during a promotion to help encourage purchases from those coming to drop-off a parcel (driving more revenue for hosts).

At Doddle, we’ve used our years of returns and drop-offs experience to develop Counter-Top Kiosks with a seamless customer experience – removing the need for staff to refill terminals and implementing automatic communication that emails consumers once a return is dropped off.

Carriers can also potentially reduce the handling fees they pay to hosts in locations which adopt the kiosk services, since they both significantly reduce handling time for host staff and increase parcel volume. This means more valuable foot traffic coming into store, and less work by the store staff, so they need less additional financial incentive per parcel. That makes the consolidation of drop-offs even more cost-effective for the carrier.

30-second drop-offs with the Doddle Counter-Top Kiosk

The Doddle Counter-Top Kiosk was developed with the combined insights from over 10 million returns and our work with some of the world’s biggest retailers, to create a streamlined and customer-friendly kiosk.

The Doddle Counter-Top kiosk provides the same benefits of automation and a fully accessible user journey to drop off parcels, but in a form factor that fits easily into small locations. Consumers can quickly drop off their parcels with a QR code scanner, intuitive touchscreen interface and label printer. Like the full-size Drop-Off Kiosk, it comes with automated customer communications and tracking events, plus the capacity for aggregated data analysis for the carrier.

Best of all, with our enhanced UI, consumers can complete a drop-off journey in as little as 30 seconds.

Discover the key benefits and features of Doddle’s Counter-Top Kiosks. Consolidate returns, increase footfall and provide the best customer experience – all in a lightweight and adaptable kiosk suited to any location.

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