Royal Mail has announced that it will start offering timed deliveries to customers next year as it tries to fend off competition from Amazon.
Customers have to pay an additional fee for the service, which will allow them to specify a time period for receiving packages. The new service is part of an overhaul of Royal Mail's services following a surge in profits during the pandemic. Earlier, the company revealed a pre-tax profit of ?726m.
According to the Mail on Sunday, the new delivery window will include three tiers of delivery. The current basic service will be retained, but it is expected that two layers of premium package delivery will be added at an additional cost.
The middle tier will reportedly be called My Choice, and customers will be able to choose which day to deliver to their homes. The most expensive layer will allow consumers to choose delivery dates and specific time periods.
Nick Landon, Royal Mail's chief commercial officer, said in a video that the company also planned to reduce duplicate services to avoid confusing customers, saying it would offer "one product for each customer's needs under different brands."
"We are looking at [whether there are] some products where we have different variants that might have had a good reason to launch, but we can simplify the setup of that product now," he added.
Royal Mail announced last month that Sunday parcel delivery would be launched within weeks in a bid to capture a bigger share of the delivery market as it struggles to compete with e-commerce giant Amazon.
This comes after Royal Mail recently launched a landmark government-funded drone delivery trial, marking a "significant" step forward for commercial drone delivery in the UK.
Royal Mail has become the first British parcel delivery company to send mail to the Isles of Scilly, more than 70 miles away, using a pilotless drone. While the current trial will focus on critical medical delivery, it will also deliver other parcels weighing up to 100kg from different retailers.
If successful, Royal Mail said it would look at extending the technology across its wider delivery network to help deliver parcels to remote and hard-to-reach parts of the UK.