Home Delivery Network has brought forward the announcement of its sub-2kg parcel service — called HDN Lite — as industrial action threatens to disrupt Royal Mail's equivalent second class service.
The carrier says that, while the Lite proposition has been in planning for some months and has already been taken up by some existing clients, the prolonged nature of the Royal Mail dispute and the threat of national action have prompted it to launch the service now.
But HDN Lite, designed to provide retailers with a reliable and cost-effective alternative to Royal Mail for their customer deliveries, will not be generally available until January 2010.
HDN Lite is targeted at sectors dispatching large volumes of sub-2kg parcels, such as entertainment products, books, electronics and clothing. To date, the service has won volume in excess of 2m parcels on behalf of retailers such as The Book People and Findel.
The service guarantees delivery within 72 hours and provides full track and trace as standard, allowing customers to follow their parcels both online and via HDN's dedicated customer service centre. Insurance options, proof of delivery and scheduled returns are also offered within bespoke packages for retailers.
"Our roll-out of HDN Lite is all about offering retailers the widest range of options for their customer deliveries, each combining value for money with improved customer convenience," says Brian Gaunt, HDN's chief executive. "With continued uncertainty about the reliability of Royal Mail deliveries the service is designed to meet growing customer demand for fully trackable and guaranteed delivery — all at the same price as competing non-tracked services."