Wednesday, 23 August 2017

After Smartstamp, Royal Mail is ending Online Postage

Nearly two years ago, Royal Mail announced the end of the much-loved Smartstamp system, citing alternatives then available.

In the latest move to rationalise the methods by which non-stamp postage can be purchased, Royal Mail are now proposing the end of 'Online Postage' a system which ran in parallel with (and was very similar to) Smartstamp, from 23 March 2018.

An email sent to subscribers Royal Mail explain that Click and Drop will still be available, and their website announcement states:
After 10 years we’re replacing our platform with a new and improved service Click and Drop: our one-stop postage and labels solution ideal for consumers and small businesses.
(The preferred format for 'Click and Drop' is an ampersand rather than 'and' but this Google blogger platform will not display the ampersand.)


A disadvantage with Click and Drop was that - originally - the items had to be posted over a branch counter so that the account could be debited, whereas Smartstamp and Online Postage letters could be simply dropped into a postbox anywhere anytime.   However, the latest version allows for prepayment by PayPal and posting at a branch or postbox.  Of course people selling online should be getting a certificate of posting anyway, which requires the items to be presented at a Post Office counter.

Interestingly the help pages say that the Click and Drop label must be printed using Adobe Reader.  There is no mention of the Labels To Go facility mentioned here in Feburary of this year, although the Labels to Go pages say that it can be used for Click and Drop or Online Postage!

(For the benefit of the doubters, this is how the ampersand displays in all posts I have made when doing copy and paste of Post &amp ; Go from Royal Mail's press releases.)

8 comments:

  1. Payment by SMS perhaps? It is an option in Iceland!

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  2. To display an ampersand try writing & in your post. It may work

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    1. I'm surprised that & worked in the comment you made, it never does in the main post as I will demonstrate.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Interestingly it did display first time, but when I went to the HTML view to change some code, then back to rtf, it displayed as shown above. There have been many occasions when pasting from RM has displayed 'Post &amp ; Go' (but without the space after amp) on the live blog. Perhaps they have improved the system.

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    4. Well I meant to write the html code for ampersand which is a sequence of characters that can be used to force display the character. I'll provide a link instead to it. http://www.tedmontgomery.com/tutorial/htmlchrc.html. if you want any special characters to display use the codes off that page.

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    5. YEs, my point was that when I use the ampersand in plain text compliing, it used to be turned into the HTML code and display like that on the blog. But that seems to have been corrected now.

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  3. Having used Smartstamp, then pushed onto Online Postage, I am now trying Click and Drop. It is possible to print more than one envelope or label at a time which is a distinct advantage over Online Postage. You can also import an excel sheet with addresses and create a series of envelopes/labels that way.

    One disadvantage is you cannot set up a balance as you could with the former incarnations. It means instead of one payment covering a period of a few days you get a series of smaller transactions to reconcile which is a bit of a nuisance. However from my point of view it is better than Online Postage but not as versatile as SmartStamp was.

    The conformation email still provides QR Codes for Labels to Go. Email message says "No printer? No problem! Open this message on your mobile device and use the QR codes above to print your labels at your local Royal Mail Customer Service Point."

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