Senior management from nine EMS operators gathered in Beirut, Lebanon on 3 and 4 July for an EMS symposium to shape the “EMS vision 2024” for the Arab region.
In general, e-commerce in the Arab region is still in the early stages of development and so there is a huge opportunity for Arab Posts to work with SMEs to develop their international e-commerce. In most Arab countries, the government is committed to supporting the e-commerce through developing the transportation infrastructure and establishing policies that promote cross border trade.
EMS operators at the event worked together to show how they are responding to these cross-border trade opportunities. LibanPost (Lebanon), EMS Champion (part of Algeria Post Group), Qatar Post and Jordan Post all shared best practices and their successful growth strategies. Top trade-lane partners France and America also provided a view on the international opportunities available for EMS growth in the Arab region.
In anticipation of growth of cross border e-commerce throughout the Arab region, EMS operators are assessing the service enhancements, marketing and internal processes to position EMS as the preferred service among shippers. Market research presented at the symposium offered ideas not just for long-term growth strategies but also many actionable opportunities for EMS growth, such as working more closely with the Arab region’s tourism industry or to make EMS simpler and more convenient for customers.
Arab EMS operators left the event with a clear EMS vision for 2024 and ready to meet market demands resulting from the rapid growth of e-commerce in the Arab region.
Thanks to LibanPost for hosting the event.
As the communications infrastructure in Africa has improved, more customers are using e-commerce. La Poste de Côte d’Ivoire recognized this shift in consumer behaviour and its impact on the express mail market; in 2013 they made the strategic decision to join the EMS Cooperative.
Since then, La Poste de Côte d’Ivoire has worked continuously to develop and improve the international EMS service for its customers. Over the last three years there have been dramatic improvements in customer service and delivery times for EMS Côte d’Ivoire. At the end of 2018 on-time delivery was 98%, a 65% increase from December 2016.
Senior management from La Poste de Côte d’Ivoire supported the introduction of EMS and all staff were involved in developing the service. They took advantage of all the tools available to support EMS Cooperative members, including taking part in an EMS Cooperative Performance Review in 2017. The outcomes of the review set out practical steps that have been used to further strengthen the service.
The latest strategic phase has been the introduction of exports using the international EMS network and associated work resulting in a rapid increase of EMS volume. This has included working closely with others by signing bilateral agreements with some African countries and having regular meetings with customs and air carriers. The EMS service has been made more visible through investment in web services and improving online information available to customers. EMS branding is used on a new fleet of motorcycles and vehicles.
EMS Côte d’Ivoire uses all EMS Cooperative tools available to constantly monitor performance and make further service improvements . It is committed to reach compliance with the EMSEVT V3 standard so that detailed tracking information is available to customers worldwide to meet e-commerce business needs. E-commerce in Africa will continue to grow and EMS Côte d’Ivoire is ready to meet this demand.
Algeria Post’s decision to restart their EMS Champion service in 2017 has resulted in its position today as a leader in e-commerce logistics in Algeria. The commitment by the Board of Directors to invest in EMS was inspired. By 2018, customers benefited from an award-winning customer service and 99% on-time delivery resulting in a 23% rise in EMS revenue growth.
Key to the plan was to make the EMS brand more visible in Algeria. It began by reintroducing the EMS service in the Post Algeria network and opened ten new EMS sales offices. The refreshed EMS brand, EMS Champion Post, was displayed at customer contact points as well as on its EMS delivery fleet.
A new website was created to highlight the EMS service and provide more value-added features, such as online tracking for customers in Algeria. EMS Champion Post also developed its digital presence on YouTube, LinkedIn and Facebook as well as using SMS to target customers.
The vision included a drive to promote EMS to customers in Algeria and to develop e-commerce marketplace partnerships. EMS Champion Post Algeria was promoted at major trade fairs and it signed 60 new business-to-business agreements with e-commerce providers including, AliExpress and Jumia. To keep brand recognition high, customers received promotional offers at key times throughout the year, including Ramadan and end-of-year.
The rapid improvement by EMS Champion Post Algeria has required commitment and support from the whole team. Thanks to excellent performance at all levels, EMS Champion has rapidly evolved so that today it’s a major player in parcel delivery and e-commerce logistics in Algeria. EMS Champion Post has totally revitalised the EMS service and work continues to ensure it supports the needs of e-commerce customers in Algeria for many years to come.
China Post’s cross-border e-commerce has boomed. In the past five years, the proportion of cross-border e-commerce retail exports has increased from 2.2% to 7.7% and, in 2019, total transactions exceeded a staggering one trillion. Competition is strong and so China Post has introduced measures to ensure that EMS continues to grow and meet e-commerce needs.
Central to this increase in growth has been the introduction of e-EMS in 2014. e-EMS is a cross-border e-commerce solution for e-retailers with the same end-to-end performance as EMS, prompt Customs clearance and is targeted at low weight items with sales prices set to each 50g instead of 500g to reduce sellers’ costs. e-EMS has been a huge success and, by 2019, it accounts for over 40% of total outbound EMS volume.
China Post participates in the nationally unified customs declaration platform, the Golden Gate Project. EMS items benefit from electronic customs declaration with the result of saving time, costs and improving the safety of items. Alongside this, there has been a significant investment in improving network efficiency through new IT systems and the integration of major processing centers. To further improve, China Post is at the forefront of innovation and application of new technology such as automatized processing of mail and intelligent posting and delivery, even including a pilot of driverless collecting and delivery vehicles!
Measures have been taken by China EMS to upgrade the customer experience by offering more choice. EMS customers are able to do online manifest printing, have options to make track and trace easier (Telephone, official WeChat or website) and now have more e-payment options. A dedicated marketing team now looks after EMS and there is in-depth cooperation with major cross-border e-commerce platforms.
These growth measures have been phenomenally successful but competition is fierce. As part of the EMS network there is still scope to further improve EMS for the entire Asia-Pacific region by focusing on light weight cross-border e-commerce, improving performance and establishing new EMS routes with more EMS partners. More business cooperation will ensure that EMS keeps growing and can take advantage of a predicted cross-border e-commerce growth rate of 20% for China in the next 3-5 years.
The annual EMS global workshop on 10-11 October in Berne focussed on improving Posts’ EMS brand and ways to make international EMS even more competitive. Practical advice, combined with intensive breakout sessions, cumulated in the creation of solid, well-structured marketing plans that can be tailored to the needs of all EMS businesses around the world.
There was a wealth of expertise on offer from business executives responsible for EMS marketing and sales. As a global network, EMS Cooperative members can share their unique insights on different express markets around the world. Workshop participants heard insights from senior managers in countries with proven marketing and sales results including EMS Cooperative member executives from Algeria, the Cayman Islands, China and Latvia who shared best practices.
To support members, new EMS branded packaging was unveiled at the workshop, which members can use to offer customers flat rate selling prices. New templates have been designed for members to simplify international shipping for customers and add value to the EMS brand.
Further discussions at the workshop were stimulated by presentations on the four marketing Ps: product, promotion, place, and price from The Colography Group, experts on international package services and the postal sector. Break-out groups discussed the four marketing Ps and allowed all participants a forum to share their expertise and start reflecting on their own EMS marketing mix.
A key outcome from the event is a suite of practical advice and tools to help EMS operators formulate their own EMS marketing plans. All presentations and discussion point materials are available to EMS Cooperative members.
All members around the world, whether they have attended the workshop or not, are asked to prepare an in-depth EMS marketing plan using the output from the workshop and the marketing plan template as a guide. Members’ tailored marketing plans can be used to obtain needed marketing investments from their senior management in order to grow the EMS business, and then execute and monitor results.
Customers in Cambodia and Thailand are benefitting from the excellent work being carried out between the two Posts as part of their successful EMS twinning project. Cambodia Post and Thailand Post are working together to improve their international express mail service in this high-impact trading lane.
Key to the twinning project’s success has been the regular sharing of best practice. At the end of September, a five-person Thailand delegation visited Cambodia, headed by Mr. Tawat Tripipat, senior manager of Thailand Post International Operation. The group looked at the mail flow from posting, delivery processing and transport and included visits to the Cambodia Post headquarters and post offices in Kampong Thom and Siem Reap. In 2018, as part of the project, Cambodia Post visited Thailand Post.
The latest visit enabled the Posts to exchange ideas on ways that they could further cooperate to continuously improve EMS performance in both Thailand and Cambodia. EMS twinning is an excellent way to exchange good practice in staff training, technology and performance monitoring. Cambodia and Thailand’s work is part of their drive to improve quality of service for their international customers.
As part of the EMS Cooperative, members throughout the world work together but the EMS twinning projects take cooperation a step further where the Posts commit to working together under the guidance of their EMS regional coordinator. In addition to Cambodia Post and Thailand Post, another Asia-Pacific twinning project is taking place between Indonesia and Singapore. These add to previous successful projects undertaken by China Post and Japan Post; Egypt Post, Emirates Post Group and Morocco Post Group and Spain Post (Correos) and Paraguay Post.
Twinning projects foster better communication allowing operators to work together on solutions to improve EMS network performance. Any operators interested in signing up for an EMS twinning project should contact their EMS regional coordinator.
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