Europe’s post offices ramp up e-commerce service offerings

Many of Europe’s post offices are struggling due to varying degrees of privatisation and declining mail volume. As such, many are reinventing themselves, particularly as online retailing continues to grow and demand for parcel delivery solutions, e-fulfilment services and cross-border European solutions increases.

The UK’s Royal Mail is a classic example. In the midst of its privatisation process, it saw letter volumes decline 9% in 2012. However, its parcel subsidiary, Parcel Force, accounted for half of the group’s revenue. As a result, the Royal Mail announced plans to invest £75m in Parcel Force’s network, including a new parcel processing centre in Chorley, new depots in Cornwall and Hampshire, and the expansion or relocation of nine further depots over the next four years. Parcel Force’s IT will also be upgraded, replacing existing legacy systems.

France’s La Poste has been quite innovative and aggressive in its e-commerce offerings. Its two parcel subsidiaries, GeoPost and Coliposte, combined, represent the second largest parcel operator in Europe, with service offerings spanning the continent. Besides parcel delivery, La Poste also provides e-fulfilment services via the recent acquisitions of Neolog and Orium. Orium has e-fulfilment sites in France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and the UK.

Another innovative post office is the Netherlands’ PostNL subsidiary TNT Post. Like La Poste, it too offers e-fulfilment services. It also provides cross-border return solutions as well as an interesting service, eYouPack, an “all inclusive” e-shipping to Europe tool that, via partnerships with Deloitte and Ernst and Young, manages cross-border rates and taxes such as configuring VAT.

Other European post offices such as Belgium’s bpost and the Scandinavian PostNord are also offering creative e-commerce solutions to meet the needs of their customers and beyond.

Europe’s post offices present both challenges and opportunities for logistics providers. A challenge in that post offices appear to be becoming a clear competitive threat within the e-commerce logistics sector, while at the same time partnering with post offices may bring established networks and other solutions to those logistics providers in search of expanding offerings in the European e-commerce market.

Ti to launch new European e-commerce report

Ti is pleased to announce we will be publishing our new European e-commerce Logistics report later this month. The report will provide unique analysis of the latest trends in the region’s e-commerce market, including an in-depth overview of cross-border challenges as well as profiles of logistics providers and leading European post offices offering solutions to the e-commerce segment. For more information or to register your interest in the report’s release, please contact Holly Francis, Ti’s Sales Executive, [email protected].

Ti will be showcasing our new European e-commerce Logistics report at the e-commerce logistics pavilion of the SITL Logistics Solutions event in Paris, March 26th – 28th. The main theme for the conference is “E-commerce logistics cycle: Do you need to become “omnichannel” and how to do it?”For more information about the event please click here.