We recently conducted and reported on our third annual Future of Posts survey. Composed of feedback from a total of 129 respondents from 52 national Posts from all over the world, the Future of Posts 2020 report reveals several industry trends that point to an increasing need for Posts to digitally transform in order to achieve better performance.
The report provides valuable insights into what is keeping postal network leadership up at night, along with data highlighting key concerns, challenges, and initiatives.
The report reiterated several trends we noticed last year. Investment in Parcels was ranked first in importance among respondents. Cross Border e-commerce was the second most important investment priority, followed by Technology Innovation and Customer Experience.
The report also highlighted some new areas for progress, particularly due to a rapidly changing landscape presented by the pandemic. Overall, our findings indicate that an overwhelming majority (83%) of Posts indicated they had adopted a new solution or new approach in order to adjust to the new environment.
To echo sentiments that we’ve heard more than a few times already: postal operators are seeing a paradigm shift in how people use their services, how frequently, and what their expectations may be. It is perhaps no surprise that parcels, cross border e-commerce, and technology innovation top the list of investment priorities, even before the pandemic, but certainly afterward. These are areas in which Escher has been focused on and where we feel the future of the industry is heading.
What’s more, we feel that early investment and adoption in these areas will position Posts well for the next steps they’ll need to take. Simply put, the pandemic has set the stage for a new way of thinking about our industry. In many ways, it may have hastened the adoption or prioritization of trends which were already in progress.
While this year’s survey has revealed many key findings – many of which we’ll review in our Future of Posts blog series over the coming weeks – below are just a few highlights we’d like to draw your attention to:
Opportunity in Data Analytics: Respondents shared a concerning gap in data analytics. 52% of postal operators are currently using data analytics and another 17% are planning to implement a platform within the next 12 months. In light of the pandemic, will adoption and implementation accelerate? The answer is most certainly. There is a tremendous opportunity for Posts to leverage technology such as AI, in order to reduce costs and expand revenue opportunities, even and perhaps especially when you consider the effects the pandemic has had on increasing parcel volumes.
Cross Border Growth a Priority: Nearly a fifth of the respondents ranked this area as most critical to their success. We imagine if we conducted this survey today we’d see that number rise. Posts cited real-time tax and duty estimation solutions, cost transparency, and transit times as obstacles to optimizing their cross-border e-commerce offerings. In a mid or even post-pandemic world, how much more crucial will these areas be? In a world where customers have ramped up their online shopping, both locally and internationally, the need for timely, efficient cross-border shipments is even more top of mind.
Customer Experience Continues to Grow in Importance
Lastly, with the accelerated adoption of the above, it is no surprise that next on the list of priorities, even before the pandemic, was customer experience. Adopting new technologies, innovating new processes, and shipping more parcels to more places, especially across international boundaries, means one thing ultimately: more customers and more opportunities for Posts. Customer experience is a crucial component of success and it’s an area we will look at closely in the coming weeks.
We will be releasing a series of blog posts outlining the findings of the report and what these trends mean for the postal industry. In our next blog, we will take a deeper dive into more of these trends, and the opportunities they present for Posts.
We encourage you to follow this blog series. You can also download the full Future of Posts report now.