While the traditional letter mail still remains an important income source for the postal operators, the E-commerce takes the place of one of the main drivers for the delivery business in the postal sector filling the gap caused by the letter volumes decline.
Between 2011 and 2014, global deliveries of small packets and parcels by Posts worldwide increased by some 48% to reach some 357 million items. In Asia and Oceania, where there are some reported 460 million online shoppers, the share of related exports rose from 25.5 to 32.9 per cent during the same period, while its share of imports rose to 23.9 from 15 per cent
Global B2C E-commerce is valued at about $1.2 trillion. While considerably smaller than business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce, valued at more than $15 trillion, this segment is growing faster, especially in Asia and Africa. This area also offers high potential for growth of e-commerce in developing countries.
The E-commerce has been in focus of the UPU working groups for many years. In the six months until October 2014 the UPU and its member countries have created a raft of measures to better harness the growth in e-commerce under ECOMPRO, a new integrated global framework, in record time.
UPU E-commerce Guide
The UPU E-commerce Guide describes how Postal organisations can actively support the development of E-commerce utilising the digital, financial and physical services of postal networks.
Policymakers and postal executives will find key information related to the development of policy frameworks, postal solutions, product development, supply-chain integration, E-commerce strategies (local, regional and global), partnerships and business models.
The guide provides a set of practical recommendations for postal organizations for the development of their own e-commerce capabilities to support the development of domestic, regional and cross-border e-commerce markets. UPU capacity building and technical assistance specific to e-commerce development is explained.
UPU E-Commerce Programme – ECOMPRO
The E-commerce Group has also worked intensively in the construction and activities of the UPU E-Commerce Program (ECOMPRO). This program charges the POC to accelerate action to develop e-commerce through the UPU's international postal network, working within the existing POC structure and bodies in an integrated view, in order to facilitate the integrated coordination of E-commerce related activities within the POC.
UPU Cloud Solutions for E-commerce
Like the UPU Doha Postal Strategy (2013–2016), the Istanbul World Postal Strategy (2017–2020) recognizes the importance of e-commerce in today's postal services. The Post must not only be a player in e-commerce, but also contribute to the development of e-commerce through its pervasive network and multi-dimensional services. The Istanbul Congress instructed the International Bureau to develop projects and programmes which support and enhance the capacity of UPU designated operators in providing e-commerce services in an integrated fashion.
It is as a result of these directives that the UPU launched the Ecom@Africa initiative in November 2016 to position the postal network as a key enabler and facilitator of e-commerce. The initiative aims at establishing an integrated, inclusive and innovative e-commerce ecosystem provided by postal operators through online e-commerce platforms. These platforms use the postal network and products for cross-border logistics, deliveries, returns and payments. Though the initiative is targeted at the African region, it can be replicated in other regions where many citizens and businesses – especially micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and marginalized populations, such as young people and women – lack affordable access to e-commerce platforms and are shut out of the online market.
In terms of concept and approach, the initiative seeks first to strengthen the operational efficiency of the national postal network for effective international exchanges of postal items in view of the growing e commerce volumes, and later to connect and integrate with other platforms in the region and globally. The initiative begins with an assessment of the country's e-commerce conditions and the postal operator's operational readiness.
Through the initiative, the UPU helps to build a closer partnership between governments and national postal operators. It works with these two key stakeholders using its operational readiness for e commerce (ORE) methodology to assess and improve the capacity and operational efficiency of the national postal operator to support the development of e-commerce. The end result: any MSME located in a remote area of the African continent can sell its goods to a customer located anywhere in the world, and any buyer in Africa can purchase goods from wherever they like.
Private sector players and other stakeholders can also join the initiative by forming partnerships directly with the government or designated operator of a participating country. The UPU is currently at the national stage with several pilot countries, including Tunisia, South Africa, Morocco, Kenya, Cameroon and Côte d'Ivoire.
For more information about the Ecom@Africa initiative, see the FAQ published below.
14.02.2020The UPU Ecom@Africa initiative – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
Key Elements for Designated Operators
14.02.2020This White Paper endeavors to show how the postal sector makes ecommerce happen and how it might contribute to solving some of the obstacles on the way to yet stronger growth in this area.
14.02.2020Essential e-commerce elements definition, arrangement into priority order of implementation, and overview of global interoperability.
14.02.2020A building blocks proposal on worldwide e-commerce services provided by posts.
E-Shopping through Posts
14.02.2020Presentation (executive summary) made by Antonio Braquehais (Brazil) and Bartosz Golembnik (Poland), April 2007.
14.02.2020This report is a result of work done by the EPS E-shopping Project Team and presents a general strategy for an E-shopping solution through posts, as well as recommendations for future consideration.
Hong Kong Declaration
14.02.202021 and 22 May 2009, Hong Kong, China.