Parcels and technology

Smarter shopping

How technology makes receiving parcels easier

Ordering goods online and having them delivered at home: really convenient or not always? We aim to use technology to make ordering online as easy as possible for everyone.

Imagine, you ordered a brand new e-reader online, just in time for your partner’s birthday. But you’re at work all day and your neighbours are on holiday. Luckily, you were able to choose a two-hour delivery window that fits with when you’re at home, so you’ll be able to receive it personally. What if it turns out you can’t actually be home at that time? No problem: simply logon to the PostNL App, and tell the parcel deliverer to drop the package off at the pick-up location closest to your office. Sounds unrealistic? Not if it’s up to us.

“Online shopping should be easy and fun, with as few uncertainties or barriers as possible. That’s our ambition for our customers. Of course, there is no standard customer. Everyone has their own preferences, and these can actually differ per order. That’s why we are working on a broad range of new services, in which customer convenience and flexibility come first.” Carlos Mendes Aguiar, Commercial director Parcels and Ecommerce Benelux

Do I have to stay at home or not?

To increase convenience and flexibility of the full online shopping experience, all kinds of enhancements behind the scenes are possible. Like increasing the efficiency of the online ordering process, of faster sorting. For consumers, though, it really comes down to the moment they receive the parcel. What time exactly will the deliverer show up? Do I need to stay at home or not? This is why the recipient is central to so many of the new services we are developing.

We’re also an IT company

If there’s one thing that connects all these innovations and improvements, it’s technology. “You may not realise it, but behind the physical delivery of mail and parcels there is a complete IT company at work, and that’s also PostNL”, Gerrie de Jonge, Director Business IT Parcels, explains. “All of our networks, customers, internal processes and the services we offer are connected by technology. And it’s this advanced IT base that means we can continue to make things easier for our customers.”

We’re making things easier for our customers

Retour on demand

Returns on demand

the customer can pick a one- or two-hour window for PostNL to pick-up returns, the same day if necessary (launched in 2016)

Pakket- en briefautomaat

Parcel locker

the customer can use special lockers to send and receive parcels 24/7, and use it as letterbox as well (launched in 2016)



the customer can select a specific time window for their parcel delivery: the dynamic route planner selects the optimum route for the PostNL parcel deliverer (launch in 2017/2018)

Bezorging wijzigen


the customer is informed in real time about the parcel’s status, and can make last-minute changes online to the delivery address (launch in 2017/2018)

Dezelfde dag bezorgd

Time window indication

with data analysis, we can calculate the narrowest and most reliable possible time window in which parcels can be delivered (launch in 2017/2018)

Drones and smart refrigerators

The services described above will make ordering and receiving both easier and more fun, according to Bram Tilmanns, Strategic Business Developer: “Over the course of 2017, we will begin introducing these kinds of improvements for consumers.” But where will this eventually lead? Drones that deliver parcels, refrigerators that order milk, or a digital calendar that alters the delivery time automatically? Bram: “Of course, while we take a long-term outlook and think about really special things like these, we are mainly focusing on what we can do for our customers between now and in two years.”

We will use technology in many more ways

Wireless sensors on roll containers

Tracking the location of our roll containers means we can use them more efficiently.

Working with smartphones

As all mail deliverers now use a smartphone and the PostNL My Work App, we can offer a range of new services to customers.

Artificial Intelligence in sorting locations

The container numbers will be projected on every parcel using a laser. This means the sorters don’t have to read the post codes first, which makes sorting simpler and faster.