Since its inception as the Uniform Penny Post by Rowland Hill in 1840, the UK postage service has let people and businesses across the country stay in touch, send and receive packages, and much more.
But as the world changes and becomes more digitised, the need to overhaul the postage system has become paramount – and one start-up thinks it has the key.
Edinburgh-based Stamp Free says it has now launched the world’s first independent digital postage stamp, aiming to take the industry firmly into the modern age.
After years of apparent decline, the postal services in the UK have enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance in the past 12 months or so, driven by the huge rise in online shopping prompted by the coronavirus lockdowns.
Now, the question of how to keep the service relevant and tech-friendly has led Stamp Free to unveil its platform. The company says its Stamp Free Digital Postage Solution allows consumers and businesses alike to send parcels, letters as well as return consumer goods without the need for a postage stamp or print a postage stamp at home.
The company operators through three distinct services – Digicode for the consumer market, Shipcode for businesses, and Easycode for consumer goods returns. Stamp Free says that all three are set to launch within the next 12 months, with Digicode the first to arrive.
Digicode allows users to an select the mail product (letter or parcel) and pay the exact postage amount via the Stamp Free app, or integrated postal carrier app. They then receive a Digicode which is written on the mail item, which is scanned/validated by the app before being mailed as normal.
When it comes to returns, Easycode does away with the need for return labels being included with shipped items, or again the need to print extra labels. Instead, customers request and receive an Easycode via the Stamp Free mobile app or the retailer’s website, write this on the item, then return it via a local locker, drop-off point or by posting directly
Shipcode looks to replace the traditional franking machines or parcel shipping services currently used by many businesses, making the process more efficient and cost-effective, especially for small businesses who post frequently F
Stamp Free adds it can also benefit the postal carriers by removing issues associated with postage stamps such as fraud, liabilities and cost of printing. By having access to data on the postings made through the app, ensures they are paid correctly for the items they handle.