About Parcel PickUp
I was just starting the third and final year of my product design degree as a mature student in Bristol. As the last part of my course, I had to present three ‘every day issues’ that needed solving to my tutors, the plan being that one of these issues would become my final year project.
On the day of the presentation, I received a missed delivery slip instead of the parcel I had been really looking forward to getting (a new bit of kit for my computer!) My heart sank as I realised I was going to have to re-arrange my weekend to make the 20 mile round trip to some out-of-the-way delivery company depot to pick it up.
But the good news was that I now had a very real issue for my presentation!
I think some of my tutors must have experienced missed deliveries themselves that week as they all strongly encouraged me to work on this issue for my final year project.
So I set about coming up with a solution. I initially assumed I would design some form of locked box concept that could integrate seamlessly into peoples’ households, or make some kind of space age device that could inform the delivery man of his customer’s location, no matter where they were in the world and lead him directly to them.
Having researched the subject for 6 months and spent time interviewing industry professionals, I realised that there might be a much simpler and more practical solution, not so much a product but a service. I came up with the simple concept whereby customers could just pick up their deliveries from someone who would always be in, and from a convenient place, say on the way home from work.
I wanted a service that could be used for any purchase, from any online retailer and using any delivery company. And just as importantly, I wanted a service that would be safe and secure, led by its customers and the local delivery places they wanted to use.
Considering I was doing a Product Design degree, it came as no surprise that my tutors, although enthusiastic about the idea, felt my solution wasn’t so much about design, rather it was about business! I had no exciting drawings or models to show them but fortunately, I was encouraged to enter my idea into a business ideas competition (BizIdea 2006/7) and thankfully the judges seem to think I just might be on to something and awarded the newly named Parcel PickUp a merited final place.
Since then I have spent every day working to develop my idea. From becoming the first agent myself and testing out the concept from my own home, I have moved on to take on local, independent shops across the country as Collection Point Agents, in convenient locations with friendly staff and long opening hours.
I hope you like my idea and the way it’s developing. If you do, then just maybe this story will have a happy ending... and missed deliveries will become a thing of the past!
Ed Fraser: MD Parcel PickUp