To surf the booming e-commerce wave, LibanPost chose to transform its traditional way of doing business.
The company adapted both its physical infrastructures (distribution centres, letter carriers, etc.) and its digital processes. On the order processing end, similar to other countries, the flow of incoming parcels from China has grown by 150% over the past four years.
In 2020, however, the dramatic financial collapse that hit Lebanon, led to severe USD credit card restrictions. Lebanese shoppers could not buy their favourite items from China online. LibanPost found a smart way to bypass this obstacle, by offering a drop shipping platform on its website allowing for an order to be placed and paid for in Lebanese pounds either online or in cash.
The order processing challenge with respect to sellers not serving Lebanon was addressed thanks to Click & Ship, an inter-postal collaboration initiated by LibanPost. A virtual addressing system was put in place via a network of hubs, to enable product shipping to Lebanon.
On the B2C offering end, LibanPost extended its e-shop portfolio beyond the usual philatelic and numismatic range of products, to include some of the most sought after electronics and accessories that were made readily available at the click of a button. This met the needs of customers who did not want to wait for months for a delivery from abroad, or who were looking for payment facilities in the local currency given the severe banking restrictions.
On the B2B end, LibanPost launched Swiffi, a special web based platform for pickup and delivery to serve its corporate clients’ needs. The platform provides sellers with the possibility to track the operation end-to-end, via a dashboard, from order submission to end consumer delivery, including final stage SMS and email notifications for each step.
Furthermore, LibanPost developed an ensemble of API modules to integrate its sellers’ websites whether with one warehouse or with multiple vendors, directly with the Post, covering local and international pickups, and ensuring tracking and full visibility for the end consumer including information regarding delivery fees.
LibanPost also enhanced its final mile delivery with new features to accommodate its clients’ preferences in terms of payment modalities (Cash or Credit Card, online, at the Post Office or upon delivery) and with delivery options (same day, next day, on appointment, after hours). On the safety end, all the in-person contact took place under strict compliance with international Covid-19 recommended measures.
Moreover, aside from allowing for e-commerce products’ full tracking via the company website, the Contact Centre also provided for over the phone, or via email and social media, any information needed. A business WhatsApp with an enabled chatbot was added to the existing communication toolbox. Its use was encouraged via targeted SMS notifications, social media posts and connecting icons on all platforms. The Contact Centre also enhanced the company’s service up and beyond the agreed upon SLAs, by calling customers for a final extra delivery attempt, before returning items to the sender. This was needed because of the poor addressing system in Lebanon. It considerably reduced the number of Returned Items to Sender by 24%, hence improving e-commerce customers’ satisfaction.
At LibanPost, I strongly believe the e-commerce transformation journey does not revolve around the implementation of digital platforms only. It focuses on convenience as the main driving value proposition. The intent was to keep in mind, at every stage of the transaction, the importance of offering a flexible solution that accommodates clients’ preferences, in a seamless way, for a better online shopping experience. LibanPost has worked hard to serve its customers and their needs and we will continue to do so in the future.
By Khalil Daoud, Chairman and Managing Director, LibanPost