The first computers were so big they fit into entire rooms. Now, we can fit mini computers into our pockets via our phones.
Mobile devices have radically changed how the world operates, and the transformation is far from finished. Apart from making our daily routines easier, they’re also impacting on how businesses offer their services.
In the Postal industry, companies are reimagining how they interact with customers, extending their reach and better meeting the evolving needs of consumers – and all by fitting the Post Office into a mail carrier’s pocket.
At the Intersection of Consumers and Posts
Being able to shop for a new dress while taking the bus home in the evening is having a dramatic impact on global retail sales. ECommerce sales saw a 25 percent rise in year-over-year sales in 2017, according to eMarketer. The subsector now accounts for roughly one-tenth of global retail sales, and that figure is steadily rising.
But, greater accessibility comes with caveats for Posts:
- Parcel volumes have risen while mail has largely stayed in the same range.
- Consumers expect greater convenience and quicker service.
A greater reliance on Post has caused parcel volume to nearly double over the last decade, jumping from 3.3 billion items delivered in 2008 to 5.7 billion in 2017. According to a report by the U.S. Postal Service, mail volume reached 150 billion items in 2017.
The number of delivery points that mail carriers must account for on their routes has also seen an uptick in the U.S. over the last decade, rising nearly 5 percent to 157.3 million. These metrics are representative of the increase in global demand for Postal services, and the USPS is expanding its reach to meet the needs of the customers.
But it’s not just Postal delivery that’s seeing more activity. Nearly 31 percent of respondents to the KPMG 2018 Retail Survey expected to return at least one of the items they’d recently purchased. In turn, the volume of Postal products sold could rise as a result.
Empowering Mail Carriers to meet Consumers’ Demands
There isn’t one ‘be-all and end-all’ solution to staying competitive in this quickly evolving market. Instead, Postal Operators are deploying a series of strategic initiatives that are aimed at creating a better customer journey in light of the high package and mail volumes.
The Mobile Point-Of-Service (POS) platform is enabling companies to optimize the first and last mile delivery channels – a strategy otherwise known as customer-centric Post. By equipping mobile devices with all the functionality staff would have in a Post Office, mail carriers can offer a variety of products and services at the doors of businesses and consumers, find the quickest routes to speed up delivery times and facilitate an array of transactions.
"Not everyone can get to the Post Office, especially in rural areas. But by equipping mail carriers with mobile tools, they can deliver transaction services wherever they interact with our customers – at home, at work," one Escher customer said about the tool.
Making deliveries and returns easier for consumers and Postal staff is critical to accommodating the high mail and parcel volumes without compromising the consumer experience. Mail carriers can engage with people and companies in a variety of ways to provide better service, on their own terms.
Consumers benefit most from a Mobile POS, as they can:
- Pay for deliveries and schedule returns from the comfort of their residence or place of business.
- Manage a variety of transactions from the doorstep that would normally require them to visit a store or member of the third-party agent network.
- Avoid missing packages and mail, or having to pick them up elsewhere, through greater coordination with mail carriers.
All of those advantages ultimately lead to a better relationship and experience with the Post. Mail carriers also stand to gain from the integration of the new platform. Due to the technology, they can now:
- Get through delivery routes more efficiently due to optimized navigation.
- Facilitate transactions and other services faster than ever before.
- Promote greater accessibility of the Post.
Of course, Postal Operators also stand to gain from the inclusion of the Mobile POS tool by:
- Expanding the reach of Posts to meet the emerging needs of the ‘always-on’ consumer.
- Creating more revenue opportunities through greater access to services and products.
- Cutting down on non-deliverables to promote a better customer experience.