By Claire West

Royal Mail today launched its improved and extended range of tracked services to smaller retailers to help them improve the delivery experience for their customers.

More than 1,500 retailers are currently registered to use Royal Mail Tracked®, a low cost, two-day delivery service which tracks an item’s progress at every stage from the retailer’s warehouse to the customer’s doorstep, with confirmation of the successful delivery of a parcel within 15 minutes.

Now Royal Mail Tracked® gives smaller e-tailers and catalogue companies the option to choose to send delivery updates to consumers by text or email. Royal Mail successfully rolled out the additional service options, which also include signature on delivery, management reports available to retailers to help them manage call handling and a 15kg weight limit, to large volume retailers this year.

Royal Mail has also launched the Royal Mail Tracked Next Day® product for large and smaller volume retailers who want to offer their shoppers an even quicker delivery.

Royal Mail has developed the improved service to fill a gap in its product range since arming its 35,000 delivery postmen and women with new hand-held devices to track packets and parcels to the doorstep.

To make it easier for smaller retailers to take advantage of the improved tracked services, Royal Mail has also developed a new despatch management system, Despatch Manager Online™, which enables account customers to quickly set up and produce barcoded parcel labels online.

Gary Winter, Head of Goods Fulfilment at Royal Mail said: “Royal Mail is determined to invest to maintain and increase our share of the growing online retailing sector by extending our range of tracked services to our small and medium sized customers.

“Royal Mail Tracked® has plugged a gap in our service portfolio and is essential in building our reputation as the specialist delivery partner of choice.”

He added: “The delivery of goods ordered online is a tremendous growth opportunity and we will continue to develop services, like Royal Mail Tracked®, which deliver real impact and results to businesses and greater flexibility and certainty for consumers.

“Not only does Royal Mail Tracked® deliver 98 per cent of parcels within two days, it also enables consumers to check the progress of their order online so that they can plan for their delivery. This helps reduce the number of failed deliveries because no one was at home to receive the item, improving shopper satisfaction and reducing customer service costs for the retailer.”

This is the latest initiative by Royal Mail to support the online and catalogue retailing sector. Royal Mail is currently extending the opening times of more than 600 of its busiest delivery offices until 8pm on a Wednesday to make it even easier for people to receive items that could not be delivered during the day because no-one was at home.

Earlier this year, Royal Mail launched the self-serve Delivery Promise Tool (www.royalmail.com/deliverypromisetool) provides analysis of any e-tail website from a shopper’s view and takes just 15 minutes to complete.

The service gives advice, developed with e-commerce experts, on areas such as website navigation, the buying process, delivery options and information through to the post-purchase experience.

And the Royal Mail E-commerce Engine® was developed to help online retailers manage their inventory, accounts and logistics across multiple on and off-line sales channels, saving them time and money.

The Royal Mail E-commerce Engine® is ideal for store-based, online and multi-channel retailers who want to expand their presence to new sales channels to grow their businesses.