Sep 19, 2017

How Posts Can Play the Role of Trust Intermediary for eCommerce

Postal

How Postal eServices Help Create an Inclusive Digital Society

How can the Post Office use its role and heritage to build an inclusive digital society?

As customer preferences change, Posts are turning to eServices to deliver postal and financial services over Internet-aware devices.

eServices also allow Posts to redefine their role in our digital society, respond to competitive threats and capitalize on emerging technologies, such as cloud-computing, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.

According to a UPU study, Posts are increasingly offering postal eServices. About 70% of Posts said they consider electronic services strategically important for the future.

Of course, one significant consideration for Posts when delivering eServices is to take the ‘digital divide’ into deliberation. This means educating customers, many of whom may not be technically proficient, about the supplemental Postal digital services. 

Defining the Business Case for eServices

Every Post wants to develop its business, attract new customers, and ensure its long-term sustainability. eServices point in this direction.

Where do you start?

Developing eServices is expensive. To mitigate against the considerable investment requirements, Posts must be clear on their objectives before undertaking such initiatives.

The first step is to define the business case. This, to a large degree, focuses on the financials.

Preparing Feasibility Studies

The next step after identifying candidate eServices, is to evaluate their feasibility.

In short: Is there sufficient demand to justify the investment in building these eServices?

When helping Postal Organizations with digital transformation initiatives, we’ll create a Feasibility Study to determine the likelihood of success for the new service uptake.

This focuses on regulatory, demographic, geographic, and social factors.

Once completed, it provides us with a GO/NO-GO decision.

Complementing the Core Business Strategy

As a partner to many global Postal organizations, we understand why it’s essential to align digital services with their core business strategy.

Rather than competing services against each other, seamless eService delivery ensures that products/services are transitioned, be degrees, from the physical branch network to a digital platform.

Of course, this process takes time, refinement, and management buy-in.

Identifying Partner Relationships

In today’s digital economy, the most successful organizations cultivate an ecosystem of like-minded partners, rather than trying to do everything by themselves.  

Posts can encourage existing and new partnerships to contribute their eServices to the digital postal platform.

What advantages do partners offer?

Partners enable Posts to deploy a richer portfolio of services in line with customer expectations. Instead of developing eServices in-house, Posts can selectively choose partners to accelerate and enrichen their range of services.

Typically, partners will have domain expertise outside the Post’s core business, such as:

Understanding Customer Expectations and Needs

This brings us to customer expectations.

What type of services are customers looking for?

For this article, we’ve focused on the general public as the core customer. 

Consider a customer who visits a post office branch every week. Is he/she buying stamps, transferring funds, and/or collecting social welfare?

Probably not. It’s the same online.

In terms of eService product development, this means we need to define services that appeal to different target groups and meet the specific needs and/or expectations of these groups.

Of course, we must also be sensitive to the needs to customers who may not be technically proficient, lack IT equipment, or are unable to access online services, for example, due to bandwidth limitations in remote regions.

As such, the priority for Posts when developing eServices is to:

Developing eServices

eService development is more nuanced than simply ‘shifting and lifting’ physical processes online.  It is paving the way for additional services and income.

The eService development process involves the following steps:

Scope of eServices

As mentioned earlier, the range and sophistication of eServices depends on different factors, such as the technical infrastructure, customer appetite, IT proficiency, and government endorsements.

As Posts move from traditional to digital channels to satisfy the changing marketplace, customer uptake for the eServices is increasing. According to UPU, international Posts are developing the following range of eServices.

Postal eServices

Finance eServices

eCommerce eServices

eGovernment eServices

Measuring Success

As is often said, ‘What gets measured is what gets done’.

At the start of this article, we looked at how the Business Case and Feasibility Study helps justify the initial investment in the eServices project.

But how do you measure the success of eServices after they’ve been launched?

When designing eServices with postal partners, we make sure to define KPIs, benchmarks, and other targets.

Baseline information also keeps project stakeholders objective, as it establishes an agreed starting point that later helps identify strengths and weaknesses in different processes.

This means that after deploying the eService, you can compare the numbers to measure the success criteria and use this to justify additional investment.

From a customer’s perspective, you’ll want to analyze:

To improve eServices, we rely on data analytics to provide us with accurate, near real-time business intelligence on:

Using this feedback, we can continually refine the eServices and adjust them in line with customer expectations, trends, and new technologies.

Summary

For most Posts, they are still in the migration and discovery phases as they transition from paper-based processes.

However, in the long term eServices can serve as the foundation of smarter cities by improving access to government, health and education services as part of an inclusive digital society.

Likewise, the impact of eServices on the Post’s total revenue is likely to increase as eServices go mainstream, gain greater acceptance, and ultimately become the default way to perform transactions.