Consumers are increasingly choosing social media, text messages and e-mail over sending traditional letters and cards. At the same time, parcel volumes are growing. We continue to aim to offset the market volume decline by adapting our post offices, parcel pick-up point, retail points for stamps and letterboxes.
Post offices and parcel pick-up points are important elements of our retail network. They are located in shops, such as supermarkets, hardware stores and office supplies stores. The introduction of parcel pick-up points in particular enables us to offer convenient e-commerce services to companies and consumers alike.
Fewer post offices, more parcel pick-up points
Post offices offer a range of services for mail and parcels, as well as specialized services like vehicle registration transfers. A parcel pick-up point allows customers to send, pick up or return a parcel. Retailers with a parcel pick-up point in their store can choose to sell stamps as well. We are currently converting a number of post offices into parcel pick-up points and adding even more parcel pick-up points to our network. As a result, customers all over the Netherlands will have greater access to locations where they can take care of their mail and parcels. The exact number of retail locations will depend on market developments and local situations.
When compared to other European countries, the network of letterboxes in the Netherlands is particularly dense. PostNL reduced the number of letterboxes and transferred letterboxes that are frequently used, based on local market developments and local consumer needs. Those we transferred, were relocated to more regularly visited and busy locations, such as supermarkets, train stations and suburbs. Letterboxes near health institutions, which are part of the independent healthcare comparison website ‘Zorgkaart Nederland’, were not removed.
We recognize the importance of the postal service for customers and organize advisory processes with a (local) representatives’ panels to give interest groups a voice in the changes that concern them. In 2015, we formed a consultation group that was formed with representatives of interest groups for elderly people, disabled people, inhabitants of rural parts of the country, the Dutch Association of Municipalities (VNG) and the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM). This initiative resulted in collective consent for the plans we have for our retail network, as well as a protocol for involving (local) interest groups for future changes to post offices and letterboxes. In 2016, PostNL has started consulting (local) interest groups about its relocation policy for post offices and local changes in its network of letterboxes.