Australia Post will have around 30 of its ‘super stores’ planted across Australia by June this year, said managing director and chief executive, Ahmed Fahour.
In a senate estimates hearing, Fahour said the growth of the organisation's online business was a key factor in expanding its services by launching what are essentially one-stop shops for financial, travel and online shopping.
With the first super store having opened in the Brisbane GPO in late 2011 and becoming a runaway success, Australia Post will introduce the super store concept to its outlets in Sydney’s Queen Victoria Building, Melbourne’s Bourke Street, Perth’s Cloisters Square and Adelaide’s Rundle Mall.
The super stores comprise of six zones, with each aimed at modernising the company and helping it adapt to the growing digital economy, according to executive general manager for retail services, Christine Corbett. The fifth zone, for example, enables customers to buy travel insurance and claim foreign currency in store, now that Australia Post has partnered with American Express to provide that service.
While online shopping has been a boon for Australia Post’s parcel and e-business, the organisation’s letters business is in decline as a result.
“Due to the systemic shift in society’s preference to use digital mail over physical mail, the Australian letter volumes have declined by 6.3 per cent to the half-year point,” Fahour said. “This takes our letters business backwards to levels not seen since the 90s. Meanwhile, the parcels volume has surged up 10.2 per cent in the first half to a new record level.
“In December alone, parcel volumes were up 20 per cent on the previous year driven by the number of Australians who did their shopping online. We delivered three million more parcels in December than we would in an ordinary month.
“As part of our future-ready transformation program, our team is doing everything we can to transfer resources, capital, and most importantly, our people, from our loss-making letters business to our profitable retail and parcels business.”
The organisation announced its move into e-commerce in December 2011 following the abysmal performance of its letters business due to the internet.
“Communications is exploding but unfortunately for us at Australia Post, we’ve gone from 100 per cent market share in written communication 10 years ago to one per cent today,” Fahour said at the time.
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