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A new Accenture research reveals that “Enabling Consumer Control”, is now the stand-out imperative for postal organizations.
A new Accenture research—Enabling Consumer Control—based on an international survey of more than 13,000 postal consumers across 12 countries—Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States—suggests that consumers want far greater control than what they have today over when, how and where their packages are delivered to them.
While postal organizations have made significant improvements in reliability of services and visibility of consignments, the research shows that there is still considerable room for improvement in consumers’ delivery experiences. The survey reveals that 35 percent of consumers feel their delivery experience is not a positive one and more than 9 percent rate it as difficult. With both traditional retailers and eCommerce players now exploring alternative package-delivery options—including setting up their own delivery solutions—postal organizations must develop innovative customer-centric products and services to monetize the consumer, or risk seeing their market share erode rapidly.
In their bid to lower logistics costs and enhance customer delivery experience, eCommerce players are setting up their own delivery services, bypassing the postal sector completely with direct-to-consumer offerings. It isn’t only online retailers that are raising the stakes. The second threat comes from traditional retailers. Threatened by showrooming and the cost advantages inherent to eTailers, they are also starting to leverage their physical store networks to offer their customers free shipping and faster delivery times for online purchases. The attempt to position their physical stores as key components of a hub-and-spoke delivery network is a direct threat to postal organizations.
As the parcel business grows and mail volumes decline, postal organizations are countering the threat posed by eTailers and traditional retailers by investing in new services that give consumers full control over the delivery experience. This will help them provide options and increased control to the consumers, and develop a direct digital connection with them.
The Accenture research evaluated 10 potential features that could provide postal consumers greater control over package services—ranging from accelerated delivery to delivery scheduling. Consumers were asked to provide details such as which features they value, how often they are likely to use those features and whether they are willing to pay for them.
Interestingly, the research found that consumers attach greater value to services such as accelerated delivery, broader delivery scheduling options, a simple return process and secure delivery. And in some cases, consumers are willing to pay for these services. Indeed, 40 percent of consumers surveyed would be willing to pay for the ability to schedule their delivery. This opens up new avenues for postal organizations to monetize the consumer.
Today, digital technology is at a point where customers can be treated like individuals again. It gives postal organizations rich channels through which to communicate with consumers, enabling them to manage personal relationships at scale.
Mail volumes may continue to decline, but the rapid growth of eCommerce means more and more packages need delivering. However, Accenture’s research reveals that consumers waiting to receive those packages want far greater control over when and how they are delivered, even if that means paying for the privilege. Postal organizations should seize this opportunity. If they are unable to offer more control to the consumer, they are likely to lose out on market share and see their businesses slide into decline.
To prevent this decline, postal organizations around the world need to develop innovative services—especially around the delivery of packages—to forge stronger relationships with consumers. This may also be the key to monetizing the consumer further by opening new revenue streams, and eventually, winning more business from senders. Operators must develop delivery solutions that truly differentiate them from existing and emerging competition and eCommerce players. Our research has established that the key to their success lies in focusing on consumer-centric services.
December 27, 2013
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