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Innovations in the postal sector. Episode 6: let’s go digital

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We went through many different innovations during the last weeks. Some of them were centered around postal services, other were completely new but took advantage of the cost structure in place.

The challenge is incredible for postal operators. If they want to survive they have no other choice than to innovate widely.

In this last episode we explore the digitization trend. Postal operators have long understood that the need for paper documents is being replaced by electronic versions of the same. These documents are increasingly being adopted by consumers who get used to new usages and new devices. It’s therefore also important for national posts to follow that trend and offer the same kind of “touch points” than other retailers.

Electronic invoicing

Electronic invoicing is not a new story. Bpost started a while ago with this idea and launched Certipost (which was subsequently sold to Basware).

The same idea was taken over by the Polish national post office Poczta Polska (PP) which will extend its Envelo.pl service which currently allows an online card or letter to be delivered in paper format by a postman (envelo.pl is the equivalent of bpost’ mobile postcard).

The polish post plans to add an invoicing service to envelo.pl and will even extend its services to stamp personalization (something that other postal operators already propose : see here for bpost mystamp, and La Poste counterpart “MonTimbreamoi“).

Digitization

Since February 2013 La Poste has been offering digitalisation services in three of its offices. Two types of usages are served with two types of tablets. First an advice tablet which supports the selling process of letters and parcels, gives advice on offers of La Poste Mobile; Second a flash tablet for ongoing operations. With the latter customers can cancel orders, transfer sales processes, access other applications to gather more information. The aim of this initiative is clear : ease the flow of customer within postal offices and improve KPI’s in terms of speed and response time. More and more customers are put into the driver seat and asked to do things by themselves. The trend started by IKEA so many decades ago is slowly affecting all industries.  This trend is called co-creation. If you want to know more, have a look at the presentation below which we gave at the Solvay Business School.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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