Royal Mail is trialling evening deliveries in a move aimed at offering consumers more delivery options for goods bought online.

The postal operator launched the six month pilot scheme today (November 1) with department store chain House of Fraser and skincare company L’Occitane. People ordering from the stores will now be able to choose delivery slots between 6pm and 10pm.

The scheme comes after a recent study by Royal Mail found that 58% of people said they would buy more online if delivery options were more flexible.

Mike Brown, Royal Mail’s fulfilment director, said the scheme offered consumers “more control” over when they receive their products rather than “being told” when they will arrive. IMRG, the industry association for e-commerce, forecasted that annual online sales will reach £56bn this year.

Royal Mail has also recently launched a new service to allow shoppers to specify an alternative delivery point if they are out when goods arrive. Royal Mail Tracked, launched in October, means products can be delivered to a neighbour or left in a porch, while Local Collect allows people to arrange for items to be taken to a local Post Office.