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Retail Design Expo 2015: Design Lab key to Post Office transformation

Post Office Drop & Go counter

The 11,500 strong Post Office retail estate is in the middle of a “radical transformation” that will impact over the next six months, according to James Scutt, head of network change and customer coordination at the government-owned group.

The changes being made, following the split with Royal Mail in 2012, have been focusing on the Post Office becoming a “viable business” in its own right, he adds speaking at Retail Design Expo 2015.

The Post Office Design Lab, which was launched last year, is a testing ground for customer experience approaches in store, including new technologies to help speed up waiting times and improve satisfaction levels. Some of the developments tested in the Lab are already being implemented in current store re-fits.

“The Design Lab has really helped us along our journey. It has enabled us to test and refine elements of customer experience, “ says Scutt. “We are leveraging digital [in the re-formatted stores] and it will play a big part going forward. We are looking to fuse digital with an in-store experience.

The Post Office is refitting 10 retail sites per day in a £1.34bn investment. “The way we present ourselves is changing,” adds Scutt. “ We are aligning ourselves to becoming a retailer and we are there to exceed customer expectations.”

Improvements include the introduction of self-serve systems where customers can post parcels or buy stamps, with plans to introduce bill payments and mobile top-up services. Tailored business counters have also been introduced with the aim of decreasing waiting times. Satisfaction levels of re-fitted mains branches have reached 98%, according to Scutt.

Post Office Money has also been launched to bring all of the business’s financial products, such as savings and insurance, under one brand. The aim is for customers to be able to access the brand via telephone, online and in store.