Postal agencies target parcels to offset mail decline

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Postal agencies around the world are diversifying into areas such as parcels in response to the decline in global mail volumes of nearly 50 billion pieces over the past three years, according to a study by Accenture.

Achieving High Performance in the Postal Industry: Accenture Research and Insights 2013 identifies two new trends for the industry: digital mail has not reinvigorated postal agencies as originally expected and private postal operators have become more aggressive, creating greater competition for postal agencies in both the mail and parcel business.

The survey which covered 24 national post offices plus FedEx and UPS, also found that postal agencies, driven by continuing e-commerce growth, have grown their parcel delivery capabilities and diversified services to move into logistics to meet demand. This growth also is creating more opportunities for private carriers.

Other findings included:

Retail diversification: While some postal operators are questioning how to leverage their retail outlets, high-performing posts are branching out beyond stationery, office supplies and greeting cards into convenience products that include bill payment centres, motor vehicle registration, passports and other government services.

Pricing and product innovation: Using technology to add value to traditional mail and taking advantage of pricing flexibility are having a positive impact on the industry, driving revenue growth an average of 1.5 per cent annually.

Cross-border e-commerce: Posts are starting to take advantage of this new trend, expanding beyond domestic delivery to surrounding countries and regions, and developing solutions for this new market

Consumer focus: Postal agencies are creating new services that focus on the recipient – and not the sender – of mail, including narrower windows of delivery or the ability to redirect a parcel delivery to a new location. These services are giving consumers more control over package deliveries and providing postal agencies with a new revenue source.

“Despite a continued tumultuous business climate, some postal organisations are thriving. They are launching new business lines, combining their products with new technology and radically changing their cost structures to be leaner and more agile. As these posts reinvent their business models, they are emerging as very different organisations that are well positioned for future growth,” said Brody Buhler, managing director for Accenture’s global postal industry practice.


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