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From Amazon’s Minions to dabbling with Doddle, from new launches to our first conference


Three interesting little developments in the delivery world have caught my eye in recent days.
In no particular order, they were as follows.

Amazon is running a social media competition from Universal Pictures to promote the movie Minions. You know who they are, right? Funny little characters that appeared in both Despicable Me movies, acting as obedient helpers to a maniacal boss, Gru.

If you didn’t catch either of the movies they were in, there’s a pretty strong chance that at least one person you’re connected to on Facebook keeps sharing those really annoying Minion Quotes updates. Don’t you just wish they’d stop?

Anyway, I digress.

Between now and the movie’s launch in July, Amazon is turning its boxes yellow and covering them with Minions and movie branding. It’s not a world away from the way movies are promoted on hot dog sleeves and burger boxes, but it’s an interesting move in our sector that has the potential to turn a cost item into a revenue stream. Will it catch on? Hard to say, but apart from the whole where-Amazon-leads-others-will-follow effect, as ideas go this one isn’t that new, and has been proven to work in many other areas.

So it’s likely we can all look forward to more colourful packages and parcels before long, which will be great news for your marketing design agencies, but a headache for whoever manages your stock levels – after all, you don’t want to be sending out Minions packaging when you’re meant to be promoting something different.

Something else that caught my eye was the announcement from CitySprint of the launch of its consumer service, On the dot. One of the criticisms often leveled at some carriers is that they are b2b business trying to bolt b2c services on to an infrastructure that simply wasn’t set up to cope with that model. It would unfair and opportunistic to suggest that was the rationale behind launching On the dot. Instead perhaps it should be seen as a welcome indication that the market is healthy enough for new (well, new-ish) entrants, and that the discipline of a same-day provider could mean they offer some interesting and differentiated services.

Another delivery development comes in the news that Doddle has joined DPD’s growing DPDPickup network, which doesn’t actually launch until 22 June. Alongside names like Halfords and the Numark Pharmacy chain, Doddle will be a more familiar pick-up location for many shoppers. However, unlike Halfords and Numark, Doddle is already in the parcel collection business, and this move may provoke speculation about excess capacity in the network.

A smaller and more recent entrant in the collections market is the playfully-named CornerDrop, which is also in the running for a share of a £500,000 award from the 2015 MassChallenge. It’s aim is to sign up 2,000 outlets of all shapes and sizes across the country by the end of the year.

Elsewhere on eDelivery, we look at the news of Royal Mail’s government-held shares being sold off, with Roger Sumner-Rivers of ParcelHero, and ponder what’s on the cards for UK’s longest-serving postal carrier. We’ll be publishing more views and opinions on that topic in the next few days.

And finally, we are limbering up for the first ever eDelivery Conference, which takes place on 13 October at the Hammersmith Novotel in London. We’ll keep you updated with news and details between now and then, but it’s safe to say we’d love to see you there, and we believe you’ll get a lot of value from the speakers and workshops in particular.

Oh, and lest we forget, this was the week when XPO completed its takeover of Norbert Dentressangle, and by so doing has transformed a business that had one of the hardest names to spell into one that has, surely, one of the easiest ever. So, adieu Norbert, your red lorries will soon be a thing of the past – gone but not forgotten.

If you haven’t yet subscribed to eDelivery why don’t you embrace change and go and do that right now? You’ll get our weekly newsletter summarising the main stories we’ve covered, and we’ll keep you informed of other big announcements, but we won’t spam you – that’s not how we stroll. You’ll find details on that here.

You can also join our LinkedIn group for analysis and networking as it happens, or if you want your updates in real-time find us on Twitter @edeliverynet.

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