Can Parcel2Go, the MoneySuperMarket for parcels, be the UK's next £100m company?


CEO James Greenbury on cashing in on Royal Mail’s woes

Parcel2Go CEO James Greenbury is hoping that more customers will be choosing to log onto his website rather than heading down to the post-office to send parcels this Christmas.

The 10-year-old business was the first courier comparison site in the UK, and since its launch, has grown to reach a turnover of £35m, dealing with over 1.2 million customers.

With the controversy of the Royal Mail sale still riding high in the public with the postal service set to cut around 600 roles by 2015, it looks as though the time is right for other carriers to capitalise increase their market share.

Greenbury thinks that Parcel2Go can become a £100m company in the next four years. How will he achieve that? We ask him…

Q. What do the developments at Royal Mail mean for Parcel2Go?

Well, we’re not a very interesting story most of the time. But when there are issues with Royal Mail, it provides us with an opportunity for growth. We get out there and make sure that businesses and even individual consumers know that there is an alternative, which not everybody knows to be honest.

Pretty much every time there has been a strike at Royal Mail, Parcel2Go has doubled in size. And the customers stick as well.

Q. How does Parcel2Go work?

When you’ve got something you want to send, you go to the website, pop in its weight and dimensions and we’ll give you a bunch of choices. You might want to send it with UPS, or CityLink, or Yodel or you might want something shipped halfway across the world, in which case it’ll be one of the big guys like FedEx or UPS. If you want it to go quickly there’s a price, and if you’re happy for it to go over a few days then there’s another price, so you end up with a bunch of choices. And as prices move around, at any given time it’s always worth checking prices for different carriers.

Q. Who are your competitors?

There are one or two other comparison sites, but we are far and away the biggest. We just lack a meerkat, I suspect, in order for everybody to know who we are.

But we’ve done very well, we were in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 last year and now have 100 staff thereabouts.

We used to get excited if we got a 100 parcels in a day. But now we get pretty excited if we do 20,000 parcels in a day.

Q. What are the challenges for Parcel2Go?

Well, carriers can’t always get everything right, they can make mistakes, or indeed, transport has its failings. We had the great storm recently and things can go wrong. The bulk of our staff are customer service staff, so if something does go wrong with a carrier that you book through us, then we take responsibility for fixing it. We don’t just pass you on to the carrier, because we’ve developed an expertise over time for helping to mend those kind of problems. If you call enough depots, then a parcel that is missing will be tracked down.

Q. What will be the long term effects of what’s happening with Royal Mail?

More and more people will look around for an alternative, or find a more viable alternative for the parcels that they’re sending and the loyalty to Royal Mail declines a little bit more. In the end, people are only going to use businesses that can deliver a competitive price and a good service.  And that’s not what they’ve been doing for a while now with pricing, so eventually it’s going to impact consumer confidence.

Q. What about growth opportunities?

The export market is an area that’s certainly growing fast, and that market is somehow not as much like an export market as it used to be. If you’re sending something within the EU, then there’s no paperwork associated with any of it. On the Parcel2Go website, you just type in where you want to send it. It’s just become a lot easier for people to send things and to buy things from websites overseas.

A lot of the small businesses we deal with have websites that are able to ship certainly across Europe and in several cases, maybe a 100 or more countries and they can use the Parcel2Go website to do that.

Q. What’s the long term goal for Parcel2Go?

We’re going to decide on which animal, other than a meerkat, we’re going to be that will get us as well-known as those guys.

But in terms of growth, we used to say “let’s get to £30m,” we got to £30m, so now we’re saying can we get to £100m? And I think we can. We should be able to do that over the next three or four years. 

Good luck with that James, and thanks for your time.

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