If the postman does not ring anymore

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WIf he orders a parcel, the parcel can pick up in Germany at more and more delivery points far away from his own front door. Because the parcel industry is advancing in the expansion of their network. For example, kiosks, which also act as parcel shops, and vending machines, where parcels can be picked up around the clock.

The market leader Deutsche Post DHL has increased the number of its packing station machines since the beginning of the year from 3700 to 4200, in the first quarter of next year it should be 5000 and 2021 already 7000. "We want to make it even easier for people to get their packages" said a post spokesman. For such stations are important.

However, the expansion is also motivated by business management. For door-to-door delivery is quite problematic for service providers. Parcel deliverers often ring in vain during the day with addressees who are at work. Then the delivery staff have to knock on neighbors or bring the consignment to a parcel shop – this takes a lot of money and costs the logistics industry.

Post-competitors rely on different method

For a long time now, companies have been working on alternatives to door-to-door delivery, some of which are being accepted rather cautiously by customers. "Especially if parcel recipients are not at home and there are several unsuccessful delivery attempts, alternative delivery options are the economically and ecologically more sustainable option," says a Hermes spokesman.

The post-competitors have only a few of such pick-up machines, they rely mainly on parcel shops to pick up shipments. For example, DPD expanded its network by just under 1,000 to 7,000 in one year. Hermes and GLS also reported progress on such parcel handover points, with no numbers to augment.

Germany's package industry is booming because of online trading. More and more goods are bought while surfing the Internet instead of strolling through the inner cities. For example, the industry association Biek anticipates 355 million parcel shipments in this year's Christmas business, seven percent more than a year earlier.

The market leader Deutsche Post DHL is now increasing the expansion speed at its parcel stations. After the bright yellow plants were previously set up mainly in metropolitan areas, the Bonn-based company is now building more and more packing stations in the countryside.

"Packing stations upgrade locations"

However, many locations lack suitable locations. "The search is difficult," says the postman. Ideally, these should be in places where many people pass by every day, such as at train stations and other transportation hubs. Another important criterion especially in the countryside is the easy accessibility by car. The spokesman for the post reports that meanwhile also persons responsible of municipalities and industrial areas are coming to his company and offering such situations. "Packing stations upgrade locations – the people who work there can easily get packages that are becoming increasingly important to them in their everyday lives."

Other alternatives are gaining importance. The parcel service GLS, among other things, relies on a "digital parking permit", with which addressees can easily allocate a storage space to the deliverer and collect the parcel there when they come home.

DPD, in turn, cooperates more closely with retailers than before. According to the company, 1300 branches of the textile chain NKD now have a "pickup parcel shop" from DPD. This would be a win for both sides, after all, online shoppers would bring them back to retail stores as parcel collectors, according to a DPD spokesman. The parcel service provider expects that "alternative delivery points such as parcel shops will be significantly more important than doorstep delivery in the coming years."

And how does it continue? It is clear that the whole industry will continue to strengthen the alternatives to door-to-door delivery. But the Hermes spokesman also emphasizes: "Doorstep delivery will continue to exist, simply because it is the learned and to date preferred delivery solution for the majority of customers."

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