CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
As we being a new year, we set our sights on the future of postal operators and what measures they will be taking to secure or improve their position in 2020 and beyond. It remains clear that customer experience will be a key factor that sets different providers apart from one another.
Of the many factors that can potentially impact customer experience, the following tow are arguably the most important.
Broadly speaking, these factors both deal with customer experience from a delivery and logistics standpoint. Today’s digitally savvy customers have higher demands for more options when it comes to how their parcels are handled, and the ease and speed in which they expect them to be delivered.
As global eCommerce continues to increase, shipping networks are facing increased strain due to the volume of packages being moved. Not only is the volume high, it is increasing each year. By 2022, 22% of all physical products being shipped will have a cross-border destination.
There is no doubt that eCommerce has been great for business, both from the merchant side as well as on the part of the shipping provider. However, this boom in cross border shipping raises serious and unavoidable considerations in relation to compliance, duties, and taxes.
With our partner, Hurricane, Escher has built a global solution to this burden. By leveraging big data, machine learning, and restful APIs which sit on top of our system, we enable postal operators and couriers to manage cross-border shipments more effectively. The solution allows operators to swiftly calculate fees and perform regulatory compliance checks on outgoing parcels.
As a result, posts can reduce, or speed up the process at the point of sale with the customer. Parcels are accurately and quickly sorted, compliances checked, and duties and fees are accurately calculated and flexibly dealt with. This reduces friction in the customer experience late down the line and greatly reduces, if not eliminates, unexpected delays due to compliance considerations.
While carriers typically excel at moving packages and parcels from point to point, it is very common they run into problems on both ends as getting a delivery to or from a customer can prove problematic. First and last-mile logistics are a growing concern for all parcel delivery services as its the part of the journey where customer experience can take the greatest hit (not to mention the high costs associated with missed or failed deliveries).
Pick up and drop off (PUDO) locations such as retail or convenience stores are being widely adopted as the industry evolves to meet the growing needs of customers and logistical demands in volume. From the customer experience perspective, this allows customers to have more control over how they send and receive parcels by being able to direct them to a pick-up location near their home or work. Alternatively, at the end of a package’s journey (last mile), the parcel can be routed to the pickup location if delivery to the customer’s address is not possible or convenient for the recipient.
PUDO sites have enjoyed widespread adoption and customers report high satisfaction ratings when they are employed in their area. More sites are cropping up around the globe and we would expect this trend to continue in 2020 and beyond as it remains one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to solve the last and first-mile challenge.
To achieve their goals, more postal operators are seeking to adopt and adapt available solutions to enhance the customer experience. To do this, posts are collecting and leveraging available data while employing AI and machine learning tools to increase the efficiency of their logistics as well as positively influencing the customer experience in other areas.