SINGAPORE - For the past year, online shoppers have been able to pick up parcels at any time from a network of automated kiosks across Singapore.
Singapore Post is now taking its free PopStations (Pick Own Parcel Station) service further, meaning users will soon be able to post packages and pay for their online shopping purchases using them.
They will also be able to track their parcels online and open the locker containing them with a swipe of their finger using a mobile app.
The new features, which will be rolled out in two to three months' time, are aimed at meeting the changing needs of customers who want greater convenience, said SingPost's chief executive Wolfgang Baier.
SingPost launched the PopStation in April last year and has set up almost 50 kiosks at places such as shopping malls and community centres. It plans to have 100 of them by year's end.
"There's been a sixfold increase in users since the end of our six-month pilot last October," said Dr Baier.
Each PopStation, measuring 7m by 2m, has around 100 lockers of various sizes.
Online shoppers at vPost, Zalora, Rakuten, Omigo and Deal.com can use the service, as well as those living near PopStations who are not home to receive their parcels.
When the package arrives, SingPost sends the customer an e-mail or text message with a code that will open the locker containing their parcels.
With the new features, users who are within a short distance will be able to open their lockers by swiping their phone screens, using wireless technology. They can then pay at the kiosk using Nets, ez-link or credit card before retrieving their items.
SingPost claims this will mean online shoppers need not worry about their purchases getting lost - as they will be paying for them knowing that they have already arrived.
Customers of local e-retailer Zalora will be able to return their items via the PopStation if they are not satisfied with their purchases.
To post a parcel, users have to enter the shipment details, such as its weight, through an online tool called ezy2ship and print out a label. They can drop off the parcel with the label at a PopStation, where it will be picked up by a postman either the same day or the next day.
The PopStations are monitored by centralised, 24/7 closed-circuit television surveillance.
They are among the projects and programmes, costing more than $100 million, that SingPost is investing in to improve work processes, lift productivity and upgrade infrastructure.
Sports facilities manager Anwar Hussain, who shops on vPost and uses PopStation twice a month, welcomed the new features and said he would use the kiosk to post items that he wants to re-sell.
"I don't fancy queueing at the post office," said Mr Anwar, who has previously queued up to an hour to collect his parcels after missing their delivery at home because he was at work.
"The PopStation is very convenient. It's good to see SingPost moving with the times."
This article was published on April 14 in The Straits Times.Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.