As you might expect, digital transformation, ecommerce, and last mile delivery are big themes in this year’s Future of Posts 2021 Report. But another theme is point-of-sale (POS) channels. Enriching the customer experience by offering more choice in how and where customers complete their transactions will be a big win for Posts, not just in terms of customer loyalty, but also in terms of cost savings.
As a result of the challenges and new customer preferences brought about by the pandemic, postal operators are increasingly leveraging new self-service and automation solutions like never before. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at how Posts are using POS today and how they plan to evolve their POS strategy in the future.
54% of respondents from the survey report that their retail network strategy revolves around manned post offices, split almost equally between third-party owned post offices and owned post offices. 81% of Posts still use countertop retail POS services and 61% surveyed rely on third-party retail networks to reach their customers.
Additionally, 24% of Posts are currently taking an automated approach to POS, using self-service kiosks, and smart lockers according to the survey results. And the truth is that POS channels are becoming increasingly automated—so much so that automation is expected to eventually replace manned counter services. With digital transformation touching all aspects of our lives, and with the reduced footfall that came with COVID-19 quarantining, it makes sense that the world is beginning to move in a more automated, self-service direction.
One-third of Posts reported decreased post office traffic due to the pandemic and 27% plan to reduce post office locations in the next 12 months. But to continue providing excellent customer service, Posts are turning to more digital channels. 58% of postal operators offer consumer web portals and 53% provide consumer mobile apps. 17% of respondents also indicated they are using mobile POS systems in-store to improve the customer experience.
98% of Posts aim to add new POS channels within the next three years. Mobile app is the most popular channel, with 75% of postal operators mentioning it as a planned area of focus in the next 1 to 3 years.
Digital and self-service solutions also ranked high. 57% of Posts are planning on implementing smart lockers, 52% are planning online stores, and 38% are expected to roll out self-service kiosks.
Interestingly, it appears that Posts from the EMEA region are more likely to lean heavily on digital self-service solutions. 58% of respondents from EMEA plan on building mobile apps, compared to 49% of postal operators in the rest of the world (ROW). Similarly, smart lockers, self-service kiosks, and PUDOs are more popular among EMEA postal operators than Posts from the ROW. Also, third-party agencies, revamped post office counters, and online stores were more likely to be added by Posts from ROW regions, than from EMEA.
67% of postal operators believe an enhanced customer experience as a result of multiple POS channels will create the most business value. As such, Posts are making bigger investments in mobile devices for postal staff, PUDO stations, mobile apps for customer convenience, and third-party retail networks. New POS channel adoption will help foster customer loyalty and take Posts from good to great.
Discover how Posts are evolving their POS strategies by downloading the Future of Posts Report today.