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Friday, April 18, 2014

UPU News : Resolution calls for swift action on e-commerce

16.04.2014 - The UPU’s latest Postal Operations Council adopted a resolution urging the organization’s relevant groups to speed up their work on integrating actions to facilitate e-commerce, a critical issue shaping the future of postal services.

 Customers want simple and reliable services (Photo: Shutterstock)

The resolution, adopted during the plenary on 11 April, acknowledges that e-commerce holds many opportunities for the world’s Posts, including growth as letter-post volumes decline and a chance to retrain postal workers and invest in new sustainable jobs. Posts are also well positioned to foster e-commerce activity for citizens and micro, small and medium enterprises and e-retailers that would ultimately boost the economy.
The text emphasizes the need to act swiftly to meet market and consumer needs as cross-border e-commerce is still in its infancy, but on an upward path.
Talk about e-commerce dominated the latest POC agenda. Fueled by what they heard at a major e-commerce forum held at the end of March, several POC groups went into their meetings with a clear aim: finding solutions to the e-commerce challenges at hand, including simplifying international products and services, working more effectively with Customs, improving the delivery service, and putting in place an effective merchandise return international service.
Much has already been done on developing the latter. Member countries at this POC approved a user guide for the new service, but work remains on the service’s actual implementation. The service is expected to go live this year, enabling international consumers to easily return merchandise ordered online from other countries.
The product strategy and integration group will also be working on developing the specifications of an e-commerce solution for packages weighing between 0 and 30 kilos, and featuring tracking, customer service and customs preadvice features.

Time is of the essence

POC delegates agreed that postal services have to be fast if they are to benefit fully from the expected surge in parcels generated by the growing online business. They heeded the call to listen to the customer.
According to Alex Nascimento, chair of the e-commerce group under the POC’s committee 3 (physical services), no logistics company has a better competitive position than Posts [in terms of e-commerce]. But he added there was no time to lose.
“Customers say to the Post: ‘I trust you, but I need better information, better delivery options, better prices.’ They know we are capable of handling logistics operations, but they are also saying: ‘We need more than that, and we need it as fast as possible,’” said Nascimento.
During the plenary, Terry Dunn, chair of committee 3, said that customers had made it clear they want “simple, reliable, consistent services that make sense for today”. 
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