SINGAPORE - Come April 2023, a new automated self-service drop-off box will allow people to return products bought from e-commerce platform Lazada in a more convenient and sustainable manner.
Developed by SingPost, the POPDrop box will also allow merchants to ship their items with end-to-end tracking capabilities through the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) and barcode scanners.
The POPDrop box resembles a self-service book return counter outside public libraries.
The announcement came on the sidelines of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signing ceremony between SingPost and Lazada Singapore at the SingPost Centre in Paya Lebar on Friday.
The partnership will allow Lazada to tap SingPost’s logistics infrastructure, which includes the use of the newly announced POPDrop boxes, the existing POPStations and its fleet of delivery vehicles.
Lazada Singapore chief executive Loh Wee Lee said the deal with SingPost cements a long-term partnership between the two companies.
On the POPDrop box, Mr Loh said: “I think through the (Covid-19) pandemic, we’ve seen... people working from home, and more (consumers) looking for door-to-door delivery.
“As more people return to the workplace, we see that there’s a lot more efficiencies both for sellers and buyers to be able to just pick up the item on the way home through the POPStation and for our sellers to conveniently drop some of these items (at a POPDrop box).”
There is currently just one POPDrop box, at SingPost Centre. But the mail delivery provider plans to install more boxes in 2023.
Lazada customers will be given the POPDrop option, on top of the conventional door-to-door delivery one, when buying on the platform. Lazada did not disclose the delivery fees for the new option.
SingPost chief executive Neo Su Yin said the partnership marks the next step in pushing for more sustainable deliveries in the coming years.
“More and more of us are shopping online and there’s a lot of waste that comes along with that. I think we want to be responsible members of the community and push more sustainable options to our consumers for them to select when it comes to e-commerce shopping,” said Ms Neo.
Also present at the MOU signing and launch of the POPDrop box was Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling, who said in her speech that a key challenge with door-to-door delivery is the need for buyers to be physically present to receive the item.
Ms Low said: “It’s important that we work collectively to reduce the amount of carbon emissions that each person generates.
“(In the event of a failed delivery), arrangements need to be made for re-delivery, which can be inconvenient and disappointing. This also means the number of trips taken inevitably increases.”
For visual merchandiser Melissa Quek, 28, the option of being able to pick up and drop off items bought online is a much-needed convenience.
She said: “Some of the clothes I buy don’t fit well or I have second thoughts (about wanting them), so instead of needing to wait at home for a pickup, I can just drop them off on my way to work. It’s definitely easier, and it’s also great that I’m helping to save the environment.”