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Backed by his customer implementation team for parcels and e-commerce solutions at Posti, Jari is in charge of providing consumers with a seamless online shopping experience together with online retailers.  Jari has over 10 years of experience in the field of customer solutions and comprehensive supply chain solutions. 

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The Delivery Conference is an annual e-commerce, logistics and digital solutions event that brings together the top experts in the field. Jari Perälä, Head of Customer Implementation at Posti, attended the event and listed the most interesting themes discussed.

E-commerce has seen huge growth in recent years with many different trends such as delivery types, delivery speed and the use of artificial intelligence. If viewed separately, such trends may seem unconnected. However, they all have the same goal: an excellent customer experience.

The factors contributing to an excellent shopping experience were recently discussed at the Delivery Conference which I attended in London. The themes of the event included current trends and the roles of different parties in e-commerce. It was interesting for me to see the future prospects of e-commerce from the perspective of my job description and to hear about what factors the different parties thought were crucial for improving the online shopping experience.

All parties want to make sure that services provided to consumers are, for example, fast and traceable. To accomplish this, the entire value chain must be seamless starting from the consumer’s purchase intention and ending with the receipt of the delivery. At Posti, this seamless customer experience is the responsibility of the customer implementation team and ICT.

The most interesting contributions at the Delivery Conference were related to trends in fields where Posti has taken huge leaps forward and intends to continue down the same path.  In this blog, I would like to highlight five of them: delivery speed, tracking options, AI, parcel lockers and sustainable development.

Fast delivery is expected as a matter of course

Consumers have grown used to fast on-demand services like Netflix and food delivery services. They now expect the same speed from online stores, too. Since fast services increase consumer loyalty, this presents an opportunity to online retailers. Amazon Prime is a good example of this.

Globally, same-day delivery is no longer a pilot project. It is an everyday service available both locally and nationally. Posti is making huge investments in this area in Finland. Consumers will accept longer delivery periods for products from China, for example, but when they submit an order in Finland, they expect to receive it almost immediately.

Real-time traceability maintains shopping interest all the way

So far, parcel tracking has mainly served as a way for logistics operators to understand their own processes and to save consumers any time otherwise spent on inquiries. However, parcel tracking is becoming a key additional service included in the customer’s shopping experience.

Anyone who has ever ordered anything from an online store knows how important it is to be able to check on the progress of the delivery process at regular intervals. The next step in traceability is real-time monitoring of the transport process.

Monitoring the order process is a part of the online shopping process the same way that fingering products is in an actual store. Being able to monitor the parcel maintains an online shopper’s shopping mood and enthusiasm all the way until the parcel is delivered at their doorstep. Posti intends to meet this demand by adding a tracking option to all courier services through OmaPosti. Another feature that our customers often inquire after and that will soon be released is parcel naming, which will make it easier to track different items.

Artificial intelligence performed the work of 528,000 customer service operators in one day 

On the last Singles’ Day, Alibaba managed 350 million customer contacts in 132 countries using artificial intelligence. The AI system also translated a total of 1,000 million messages into nine different languages in one day. According to Alibaba’s estimate, the company would have needed a total of 528,000 human customer service operators to manage the same number of contacts.

Artificial intelligence is often portrayed as a threat to employment and the customer experience. In reality, artificial intelligence can be used to manage simple mechanical processes so that professionals have more time to perform valuable work. In small countries, including Finland, artificial intelligence can be helpful for tackling increased demand, particularly during peak season.  

Pickup points and parcel lockers spread as Finland leads the way

In Central Europe and the United Kingdom, customers traditionally enjoy having their parcel delivered to their doorstep. However, this is about to change. The change is natural and due to the introduction of pickup points and parcel lockers, a field where Finland has long been a forerunner.

As effortless as home delivery is, few customers are prepared to sit at home waiting for their parcel during an agreed period. Parcel lockers often present a more suitable alternative, because they allow people to pick up their parcels easily and flexibly.  

The number of Posti’s parcel lockers exceeded 1,000 last year. We intend to continue installing parcel lockers at the same rate. Simultaneously, we want to constantly improve the usability of our parcel lockers and place them even closer to the daily routes people use.

Much remains to be done for the environment – our biggest challenge awaits

People have become increasingly concerned about the environment in recent years. Everyone is now looking for ways to minimize their environmental impact. For example, many operators in the field of logistics have started using electronic vehicles to deliver parcels. Some cities, including London, will soon require them to do so.

Posti intends to do its utmost for the environment. All our delivery, transport, freight and warehousing services in Finland are carbon neutral, i.e. Posti Green services, for our customers. Due to successful experiments, we also intend to increase the use of electronic delivery vehicles. Our goal is to create an entirely carbon neutral supply chain.

Jari Perälä

Head of Customer Implementation,
Parcel Services at Posti Group Oyj

Topics: E-commerce

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