Of the 192 UPU member states, only about 50 have a specified postal address system. In developing economies, without addressing, Posts can’t move forward with e-commerce parcel delivery. Expensive postal boxes are not the answer. These Posts must leapfrog this stage with the use of technology.

Nanyuki Post Office, Kenya

Kenya’s rise in e-commerce

In the year to June 2017, Kenyans sent 70 per cent more messages than they did last year.

With the rise of messaging services such as WhatsApp, telecom operators are grasping for the little profit there is in a business that they realise is increasingly unsustainable.

Deepening Internet penetration (now at 66%) and the rise of the smartphone are at the heart of the problem with the SMS business. Most of the subscriptions are on mobile phones, but the data also shows that fibre subscriptions are becoming increasingly popular having grown 98% in the year to June 2017.

Internet access through smartphones and the ubiquity of mobile money is driving e-commerce in Kenya.

A measure of e-commerce activity is the number of parcels couriered locally. In the year, there was a 59% increase in parcels sent locally. Another measure is the increasing amount spent (Sh692.2 billion) on buying goods and services using mobile money.

E-commerce growth is an indication that all may not be lost for the Postal Corporation of Kenya (Posta) that has been ailing.

Kenya’s virtual post office box

The rise of inexpensive smartphones is helping all Posts to use disruptive innovation strategy to leapfrog expensive addressing processes.

The tired strategy of using mail pick-up or PO Box delivery models, where the customer has to collect mail from a post office has proven unaffordable to many, particularly when there are few post offices and they are far and difficult to reach.

Kenya Post has developed MPOST – the virtual, post office box. MPOST is an innovative virtual postal address system that uses the mobile phone as the postal address for letter delivery.

Once a user registers for the service, they choose the most convenient post office (out of the 622 Post offices across Kenya) where they can receive their letters/documents. Once a letter is received by the Post, an SMS will be sent to the user, notifying them that they have received mail (letters/documents). The user then has a choice of walking to the post office to collect the documents or ask that Post Office to deliver it to them at their house/office/different location at an extra fee. This service costs KES 300 per year ($2.91) unlike owning a physical P.O. Box that costs KES 2,300 per year ($22.31).

Please click here to contact us for a free, no-commitment discussion.