What’s Wrong with a bit of Competition?

It seems to me that both Post Office Ltd and Royal Mail Group PLC are missing a bit of a trick.

Historically of course they had no competition.  You wanted to post a letter or a parcel then you had to go to the Post Office.

But times have changed.   Competition is rife in Mails as well as in Bill Payments, another POL product that has seen increased competition over the last couple of decades.

A punter now with three home shopping returns and three bills to pay could have to visit several different shops to complete his transactions – and be infuriated in the process – yes you can pay that bill here but we don’t do TV Licences.  Retailers now become travel advisors to these customers – Post Office for your Amazon sir, Newsagent for your Hermes and COOP for your TV Licence – oh yes and you can pay your council tax bill here of course.

The POL Network Transformation project boasts how the increased footfall of having a PO in your shop will more than recompense the loss of retail floor space.   What they don’t tell you is the loss of footfall when you have to agree to get rid of your Paypoint and Collect+ operation.   You can’t have competitors products sir when you have a PO.

And its not just POL.   The other parcel companies don’t want you offering their competitor’s products and Paypoint won’t tolerate Payzone in the same shop.

Yet these service company’s own customers are happy – in the main – for more than one of the bill payment companies to supply their customers.

All rather bizarre when we consider that the current buzz word in retailing is convenience.

Just what would happen if a store could offer all or any of the services that these competitors provide?

And here is the trick that POL and RMG are missing.   It’s the sign above the door.  It says Post Office.  No other outlet can say that – copyrighted you know!

A consumer with a parcel to post would go immediately to the Post Office if they knew no matter how the parcel was ultimately shipped they could rely on it being dealt with at the Post Office.  It’s the name you know!  A dead give away say I.  And of course vice versa.  What is the point of ‘convenient’ parcel collection points when you might have to visit three different ones to get all your goodies.

If the same consumer could pay all their bills at the Post Office surely that would be their destination of choice?   May not be in the name but the brand has always been linked to money.

More footfall, more income for the retailer.  Maybe less income for POL but in the end a successful and viable business selling their products – and that is what they desperately need.

For RMG and the other delivery companies – surely a compromise is possible.  POs collect for all, RMG collect all from the POs and deliver them to the courier companies from a centralised location.  Not just economic savings to be made but also a much greener solution.

The customer of course gets at last a choice of delivery options based on price, quality and service.   All delivered to them by a professional subpostmaster who gets to see at last a financial reward on his investment.

Makes sense to me….


One thought on “What’s Wrong with a bit of Competition?

  1. Couldn’t agree more.

    And whats this “you can pay your Severn Trent water bill at the PO, but a charge may be levied” crap! It’s the water companies dictating that a charge IS levied.

    In particular, the elderly don’t want to have to shuffle between various assorted outlets at the whim of who’s getting paid – paying a bill should be a matter of whats convenient for the customer.

    It’s painful watching a pensioner draw their money, give you all their bills and you then have to sort through which can be PO and which cant, and then they find the PP terminal at the other shop is down, so they come back to pay water and pay the charge.

    Givenonline DVLA and the online PF deals that are available, I’m getting very close to installing a computer and printer and charging for internet access instead of trying to wrangle 25p out of POL.

    As the banks shut ever more branches, POL should be in poll position to hoover up more and more business, rather than scratching around for the next big thing.

    BTW, I am constantly astonished that there is not a POL gas/electricity offer- its one of the few areas where there is no discernable difference in quality of supply, and also one area where a half decent price AND PO Brand could seize a chunk of business that would be long lasting, less subject to churn, and potentially build a residual income stream for SPMRs.

    Imagine getting 0.5% per month on every gas/electric bill – 1,000 households paying £50 – £100 a month on fuel could generate £250-500 a month for SPMRs, potentially underpinning the network.

    Which manage to run a fuel sourcing scheme, so it shouldnt be beyond the PO to come up with something similar


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