For years, Posts have made a name for themselves by delivering letters quickly and efficiently. But today, do letters really matter that much anymore? To some extent, yes. But most of us use online banking to pay our bills, we wish our friends and family happy birthday over a phone or video call, and we get coupons for our favorite brands over email. While there is still a market for mailing letters, we all know it’s declining. This of course explains the huge opportunity e-commerce and parcel delivery represents for Posts.
But customer needs are changing in other ways too. They want greater convenience and easy access to a range of services wherever they go. This is why many Posts are diversifying their services beyond parcels, into areas you might not expect. So what do customers want, and what will they want in the future? In this blog post, we’ll discuss a few service areas Posts are expanding into that surfaced in our Future of Posts 2021 report.
Ultimately, Posts need to serve their customers, and customer needs are changing. They want to use an app to track their packages and pick certain delivery windows. They want the convenience of a self-serve kiosk to drop off a return package. And if they find themselves at a physical post office, they’d rather complete their transaction with a post office attendant walking around with a tablet rather than waiting in long lines.
It only makes sense that in our busy world, customers want even more speed and convenience. Service diversification is possible through digital transformation. Posts that embrace digital transformation will not only improve their customers’ experience, it will also open the door to these new opportunities. And it is the digital transformation process that establishes a foundation for expanding into other service areas such as financial services, government services, identity services, and more. Branching into these different lines of business helps Posts increase their reach and revenue—now and in the future.
In our latest Future of Posts survey, participants from over 70 national postal operators highlighted several services as growth opportunities they’ve been working towards. Ecommerce parcels are a more obvious choice (77% of postal operators agree), but let’s explore a few others in more detail.
When surveyed, 11% of postal operators saw government services as an avenue for expansion. In many countries, you have to go to separate government offices to obtain various licenses and sign up for programs. But imagine if you could do all that in one place, while you were buying stamps or dropping off a package? Posts are starting to offer services related to student loans and grants, passport applications, drivers’ licenses, taxes, and even hunting permits. Some have been doing this for years. By laying the digital groundwork, Posts can easily add these services and create a win-win in terms of customer convenience and profits.
22% of Post leaders view financial services as the main growth opportunity beyond e-commerce parcels. In fact, once the technical foundation is in place to offer government services, it becomes easier to branch into financial services. With this digital foundation, Posts can offer checking accounts, mobile banking, and even micro-lending services. Some Posts are already offering services such as money orders, international money transfer, prepaid reloadable cards, and gift cards. Adding financial services to the mix gets Posts more customers, greatly amplifies profitability and improves the customer experience.
Although only 5% of postal operators cited identity services as a potential opportunity, it’s already starting to be implemented, and for good reasons. Government agencies, insurance companies, and banks are increasingly concerned about identity theft and fraud. Posts can help verify customer IDs with web services and complete an in-person identification in a post office. After that, customers will have a digital proof of identity that protects them and the companies they patronize.
The short answer is no. Many Posts are partnering with existing financial services and identity companies, and of course, government agencies to institute these new services. Since there’s no need to create these lines of business from the ground up, it starts to make even more sense to move in this direction. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. For example, Escher partnered with Mastercard to bring financial services to Posts that leverage Escher’s customer engagement platform, Riposte. Through this partnership, Posts can offer Mastercard’s Cross-Border Services for over 100 countries directly at the point of sale. What’s more, Mastercard supports several payment use cases and can reach mobile wallets, bank accounts, and even cash payout locations, meaning customers can transact from virtually anywhere in the world.
Diversifying into these new service areas represents a tremendous opportunity for Posts. Once Posts have a solid digital foundation in place, they can offer these other services quickly. To learn more about expanding services at your Post, speak with the experts at Escher or request a demo today and discover all that is possible.