InPost is one of the biggest, most appreciated and acknowledged courier companies in Poland. That’s because they offer innovative services, including Parcel Lockers. They are parcel collecting spots available 24/7 that don’t require employees to operate them.
The goal of collaboration between iteo (SoDA member) and InPost was to develop a mobile application that will allow the users to handle their parcels. In the future, the project is intended to grow by adding new functionalities and constant updates.
BUSINESS NEEDS AND GOALS
One of the main business goals was to accelerate the process of package pickup, especially during holiday seasons, when the number of orders and the demand for lockers is much higher. This way, InPost would not only make their clients’ lives easier, but they would also increase the number of deliveries. Remote locker opening can reduce the lines in front of Parcel Lockers and also it leaves out the verification process (from the perspective of the user, of course) which requires entering or scanning a barcode.
Another important goal was to completely give up text messages with parcel pickup codes. This solution was highly ineffective cost-wise (InPost was sending tens of millions text messages monthly!) and also was risky in terms of potential frauds.
The Client came to iteo with a clear plan — they wanted a flawless mobile app for their services. Good preparation before the beginning of the project was particularly crucial because the iteo team knew exactly what they needed to do. They also suggested specific ways to develop certain functionalities but at the same time, they were open for counseling from iteo regarding changes and updates.
The brief included many functions:
- Parcel tracking
- Remote Parcel Locker opening
- Order history
- InPost spots map
- News display
Thanks to the efficient cooperation between iteo developers, designers and InPost team, the application for both Android and iOS gave InPost Clients a way to significantly speed up the process of parcel pickup. This way they made their service even more convenient to use.
TEAM, TIMELINE & COOPERATION MODEL
The team, Inpost’s & Iteo’s, cooperated from the very beginning as one team towards the common goal of development and growth of the app.
The team included Product Owner, Project Manager with Scrum Master role, Mobile Team Leader, 3 mobile developers for each Technology (iOS and Android), User Experience Designer, Product Designer, Backend Developer, Backend Architect and 3 testers.
The beginning of collaboration and work on version 1 started in mid 2018. Version 2 was released in November 2019.
Collaboration with the client was led according to Agile and SCRUM methodology. We began with our original work tool which is Product Workshops. Also, we often met up with the Client to create and clarify the concept of the product and its functionalities. During the project, sprints are held every 2 weeks.
Every other week we organize meetings — once remotely, other times at the Client’s headquarters. During these meetings, iteo and InPost teams plan the next steps, discuss the demo and perform retrospection.
Designing the application began with Product Workshops. The assumption was that they would last one day, but the client asked to extend them for another day in order to refine the functionality. The application prototype was prepared on the basis of the scope determined during the workshop. It was assessed internally by the InPost team. The result of these activities was the creation of MVP (Minimum Viable Product) that included basic and most important functionalities.
After creating a second prototype (based on MVP), iteo team designed UX to track shipments and other side components of the application — only those that represented business value for InPost were implemented. In the second version, the structure of the application remained unchanged, but it was redesigned according to the company’s brand book, including color consistency and the use of new fonts.
A brand hero called Mat was also designed. It is a character that looks like a parcel, but its main purpose is to communicate with the user.
Currently, cooperation in this area consists of ad hoc consultations and engaging UX or product designers only when necessary.
The project included the development of two native mobile applications for Android and iOS devices. The backend part was coded in Java.
For Android, the app was written using Kotlin Framework. It included libraries like Dagger (dependency injection), RxJava (creating asynchronous apps), Retrofit (for easier communication with API), Firebase (receiving push notifications and collecting analytical data) and many more.
For iOS, the app was written with the Swift Framework. The most important libraries were, for example, SwiftLint (partial automatization of code review), Realm (easy to use databases), Firebase, Lottie (graphic animations), Hero (animations between views) and many more.
The testing procedure in the project was carried out following the setlist of the most important functionalities, through which testers on iteo and InPost side went through before releasing each subsequent version of the application.
There were also manual field tests at the Parcel Lockers.
Remote Parcel Locker opening
This functionality is definitely something innovative when it comes to the logistics industry. Implementation was anticipated from the beginning of our collaboration, and it was shared with the users with the app’s version 2 release. Remote locker opening fulfills the business goal directly because it allows the users to quickly collect their packages which means that InPost can deliver even more of them.
The Client wished that the process of parcel collecting was as similar as possible in the mobile application and on the Parcel Locker. The goal was to simplify the process for people who already knew it from Parcel Lockers. For this exact reason, the arrangement of buttons is quite similar but some elements had to be cut off due to smartphone screens being much smaller than computer screens in Parcel Lockers.
The process of remote parcel collecting is strictly designed to not interrupt the Client’s system. That’s very important because some of the solutions we considered could overload the InPost system with too many requests per second.
Remote Parcel Locker’s opening functionality was highly praised by InPost clients. They are the leader of logistic services in Poland and their engagement in introducing better and more innovative solutions are appreciated by the users. Also, their attentiveness to client satisfaction is undeniable.
The result is a simple, intuitive and modern mobile application for Android and iOS. It allows customers to track shipments, open Parcel Lockers remotely without queuing and entering verification codes, as well as to keep up to date with the latest news or technical breaks.
The first version of the application was created from the very beginning — both on the development and design side. The second version received additional functionalities and redesign.
The currently available version of the application is numbered 2.3.0. The application is constantly improved and developed for new features.
At the moment, the application is directed only to the Polish market, however, the Client does not exclude expansion to foreign markets and adapting the application for its services in other countries.
Outcome and KPIs
InPost application won the main prize at Mobile Trends Awards (called mobile Oscars) and became the app of the year 2019. It was also recognized in the ‘Service’ category, also as no 1.
Application has now over 3mln downloads with a daily dynamic increase due to huge demand for indirect goods delivery and collection.
Both versions of the application for a long time remained first places in polish Google and Apple stores.
With over 100,000 users using the application every day, almost 100% encounter no problems at all. App Store and Google Play ratings are around 4.5 stars, which is a great result considering the number of people using it every day.
Testimonials from Google Play & App Store
“Very cool. Notifications, shipment status, easy and intuitive operation. New useful features are added with every recent update. Very helpful application and so far in my opinion bugs-free. Indispensable for me as a person using InPost services. I would recommend it.”
“An example of a perfect Android app. Everything works as it should, and the design of the application is stunning.”
“Application — a revelation;) constantly updated shipment status, push up notifications when the package is already in the parcel locker. The shipment is much better tracked than the number received by e-mail. Great, keep it up! Have a nice day at InPost and everyone working there!!!”
“Simple interface, intuitive control, no problems, and above all with jamming touch panels on some” cabinets “, displaying a QR code, it is a savior. It’s worth downloading because it’s a good application.”
“Application is the luxury we deserve! 4 packages collected in just over a minute!”
“Such apps should be the standard at courier companies.”
If you would like to learn more about the process of developing the InPost mobile app — go and read the full version of iteo case study. Click the link and find out all the details: What Does it Take to Develop an App of the Year?