Think back 15 years ago. Cyber Monday wasn’t even a “holiday” yet and ecommerce was only starting to become mainstream. Fast forward to the COVID-19 pandemic, and ecommerce wasn’t just a convenient method for buying a new sweater一it was the only way to buy it. Online revenue growth was up 68% just one month into the pandemic, and ecommerce sales continue to climb. While this phenomenon presents Posts with an immense opportunity, some Posts continue to struggle to profitably manage the increasing volumes as a result of the surge in parcels. And even as COVID-19 becomes less of a risk, statisticians still predict an upward trend of ecommerce consumption across the globe. Below, we review three ways Posts can thrive and profit from the parcels boom.
With so much to keep track of on the parcel journey, many Posts are turning to last mile delivery solutions to enable faster delivery. The best solutions will integrate with transportation logistics software, planning routes based on zip code, item type, product size, inclement weather, and other Post-specific KPIs. Some last mile delivery platforms even connect to other parcel logistic partners like Amazon, UPS, FedEx, and Yodel to further customize a Post’s workflow.
Intelligent last mile delivery solutions will benefit the customer, allowing them to redirect or intercept packages from a consumer app. In turn, drivers’ routes will update dynamically and customers can verify their delivery changes in real-time. Once a package is delivered, last mile delivery software provides proof of delivery for retailers and asks customers to answer questions about their experience. What is more, last mile solutions often include integrations with cross-border customs and border patrol agencies to ensure a smooth international delivery.
Leaving work early to go to the post office only to wait in a long line is a recipe for customer dissatisfaction. These days, there are so many ways to quash those queues. One option is self-service kiosks. Posts can add kiosks to the front of their store, outside, or even add self-service kiosks in malls or train stations to give customers always-available access to postal services.
Pick-up-drop-off or PUDO locations are another way for Posts to increase their reach. Third-party retail partners can provide postal services directly in their stores, making PUDO a win-win situation. Retailers get more traffic, while Posts increase profitability and decrease the fixed costs associated with Post-owned post offices. Another way to put customers in control of their parcels is to implement Universal-ePOS. Think of this as PUDO 2.0. Instead of dedicated postal areas within the third-party retail location as well as the need for additional communication lines and extra equipment, Universal-ePOS simply hooks up to the retailers’ existing POS systems or payment devices so customers can buy gas, magazines, candy, and postal goods or services all in one transaction. This is an incredibly low-cost way to rapidly expand a Post’s retail network, be nearer to customers, and is far more convenient. At the same time, the larger postal network helps support additional parcel volumes.
Leveraging big data is a particularly useful way to fully embrace ecommerce and profit from parcels. “Big data” may feel like just another buzzy term, but paying attention to your Post’s analytics can lead to positive transformational change with your retail partnerships and customer engagement. Measuring customer satisfaction is one way to get started with big data. Pick a technology partner that has pre-built survey and reporting templates. This helps you gain inspiration for other questionnaires and shows you how to analyze the data in a straightforward manner.
Consider adopting a retail analytics platform as well that can process transactional, reference, and operational data to further understand what’s happening across your retail network and to make data-informed decisions. Most modern retail analytics software has artificial intelligence baked in, continually providing recommendations on how to optimize Post procedures according to real-time data. Combine these insights with a 360-degree view into how parcels are distributed across your network, post office productivity, PUDO, and kiosk location effectiveness, and more, Posts are better equipped to truly optimize every aspect of their business from customer experience to operations to final delivery.
Ecommerce will only continue to grow in importance, and Posts need to invest in strategies to keep up with increasing parcels demand. Quick, on-time deliveries are more important than ever before, and last mile delivery solutions can ensure quicker, more efficient deliveries. In addition, Posts need to meet customers where they are一whether that be in a grocery store or the waiting area of a post office. And with big data analytics in your back pocket, you can identify ways to delight customers even more and track your progress. All in all, fast and efficient last mile delivery, simple and convenient self-service, and effective use of big data will help boost Posts’ profitability and protect Posts’ future, during the ecommerce boom and beyond.
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