E-commerce platform provider Escher has announced the results of its fifth annual Future of Posts survey, which reveals that posts are focused on last-mile delivery (41%) as their top investment priority, followed by digital transformation (37%).
Between February and March 2022, Escher’s research partners, Triangle Management Services, conducted an online survey of postal leaders, worldwide. Responses from 284 participants across 91 posts were analyzed to provide current and future growth plans for the global postal industry. This survey came as businesses were emerging from Covid-19 pandemic operations and demonstrates that posts continue to focus on the opportunity presented by e-commerce and customer-focused priorities.
The Future of Posts 2022 survey results indicated that posts are investing in technologies that ensure delivery is as fast and efficient as possible. According to the survey, posts realize that staying connected with their customers and in tune with their needs requires constant attention. As a result, customer experience also ranked high (34%) – alongside last-mile delivery and digital transformation – with posts investing heavily in this area over the next three years.
Alongside this, 83% of posts believe that e-commerce will have the greatest impact on their business over the next five years. Mobile technologies (37%), automation (24%), data analytics (23%) and smart parcel lockers (21%) are also expected to have a big impact on postal operations, according to the survey.
The survey paints a picture of a current and future landscape that is focused on customer-centric, self-service and out-of-home delivery options. Posts’ current retail network strategies are focused on parcel lockers (62%), parcel shops/PUDO (43%) and self-service terminals (34%). Over the next three years, online stores are expected to be a key point of sale (PoS) channel for posts driven by e-commerce and the Covid-19 pandemic. Self-service will continue to be a major theme for posts as well, with smart lockers, self-service kiosks and ‘start at home, finish in branch’ all noted as key expansion channels.
Other highlights from the 2022 report included cost-reduction initiatives, top revenue-making initiatives and data use. With respect to their retail networks, posts indicated they will reduce costs by leveraging workforce management (43%), self-service (32%), new PUDO locations (29%) and analytics (28%). In terms of reducing costs for delivery networks, last-mile route optimization (51%) is the most favored method of reducing costs, followed by workforce management and optimization (46%) and automation (43%).
In terms of top revenue-making initiatives, e-commerce was revealed as an area with the highest revenue-making potential for posts. Third-party logistics and government services are also ranked high, providing posts with new services and growth opportunities. Finally, the data use portion of the research revealed that 77% of posts use data analytics to understand operational efficiencies and potential adjustments. Improving customer experience (70%) was also an area of focus for posts followed by optimizing last-mile delivery (69%).
Brody Buhler, CEO of Escher, said, “E-commerce parcels are clearly a driving force, influencing posts’ investment decision now and into the future. To sustain e-commerce growth, posts must commit to investing in last-mile delivery innovation. Transforming their delivery and retail networks to make them more market-relevant is just as important as the investments they are making to expand capacity. These changes are needed to ensure they keep costs under control and the customer front and center at all times.”
To download Escher’s Future of Posts 2022 report, click here.