Royal Mail buys NetDespatch

Royal Mail has bought NetDespatch, the shipping and parcel data management and labelling platform for postal and parcel carriers. Royal Mail said that the acquisition of NetDespatch will support its aim to provide its customers with integrated e-commerce solutions for managing the shipping and tracking of parcels.

As previously reported by Post&Parcel , Royal Mail has been ramping up its e-commerce capabilities by acquiring, or buying a stake in, e-commerce specialists. In September, for example, it bought a stake in the Australian start-up Market Engine Global, which produces technology that enables businesses to manage online shop fronts in global marketplaces such as Tmall Global. And in July Royal Mail bought a stake in Mallzee, which runs a fashion shopping app.

NetDespatch is already a supplier of shipping label solutions to a number of Royal Mail’s medium-sized retail customers. It will complement Royal Mail’s acquisition of Storefeeder earlier this year, the developer behind Royal Mail Click&Drop which, in addition to stock control and order management capabilities, provides similar labelling services for small online marketplace sellers.

NetDespatch enables carriers to provide web-based applications and services to more than 130,000 of their business customers, allowing them to use delivery data directly transferred from order management and warehouse systems to automate the production of shipping labels, customs documentation and manifests as well as generate any required data files. The platform can also be used to make tracking available for the client from the point of despatch to final delivery.

Royal Mail said that NetDespatch will be operated as a “standalone external-facing subsidiary”, so it can carry on securely providing services to all of its existing customers.  The NetDespatch business will remain under the leadership and management of NetDespatch directors, Matthew Robertson and Matthew Clark.

Commenting on the deal, Nick Landon, Managing Director of Royal Mail Parcels, said: “The acquisition of NetDespatch supports our strategy of providing our customers with leading edge e-commerce software. It allows customers with complex IT estates to integrate with us quickly and with the minimum of effort, allowing them to improve the service they offer to shoppers. We are confident that this acquisition will support the continued growth of our parcels business with new and innovative software solutions as the needs of our customers evolve.”

Matthew Robertson, Commercial Director, NetDespatch, added: “We are incredibly proud of our achievements to date and believe that this acquisition will help us to continue to grow and to better service all of our clients. Our aim is to make what is a relatively complex process simple, delivering improvements and savings to everyone in the supply chain from retailer to carrier to consumer. E-commerce is exploding in the run up to Christmas and we expect to continue to steam ahead in 2016 and beyond.

“We are delighted with the news and believe this will broaden and deepen the services that we can offer to our customers and expand our global footprint.

“The important point to note here is that NetDespatch will continue to exist on a standalone basis – it is business as usual. In fact a Customer Charter has been drawn up between the two companies which will govern the operation of our business and our interaction with both existing and future customers, which is a top priority for us. This means that our business will continue to operate in accordance with the terms and conditions of our customer agreements with absolutely no change and moving forward we plan to not only maintain but grow our relationships.”


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