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Effective competition and innovation will be the key driver of mail growth PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 12 June 2007

At Postcomm’s fourth annual Industry forum today, its Chairman, Nigel Stapleton, will say although mail is increasingly being challenged by other communications media the future was promising now that competition was promoting higher levels of investment, greater efficiency and more product innovation in the mail industry.

In his address, Mr Stapleton will outline that competition was already benefiting large mailers through better services and competitive prices, and retail mail users through significant improvements in Royal Mail’s quality of service. The Universal Service remains secure and despite some recent weakness in Royal Mail’s revenues, the company continues to make a profit from providing it.

The growth in ‘access’ competition has shown that customers are keen to take advantage of the services that rival operators now provide and  which Royal Mail in the past has not. These include the choice of later customer pick-up times, specific delivery days and tracking of the mail through the network. Such innovations would not have happened so quickly if competitors had needed to develop a network to duplicate Royal Mail’s delivery over the “last mile”.

Mail has some features which can make it increasingly valuable in the digital world, Mr Stapleton will say. These include its personalisation, customer targeting and delivery by hand to each of the 27 million addresses in the UK. However, although the UK is a world leader in terms of broadband penetration and internet advertising it is behind many other countries in terms of innovations which can exploit these valuable attributes of mail in the digital world.

Royal Mail is in a unique position to take a leadership role in such product innovation and it has ground to make up, having lost market share recently in some of the fastest growing segments, such as delivery of e-purchases, many of which are deregulated .

Mr Stapleton hopes that participants at the Industry forum could look beyond the bleak short term prospect of industrial action disrupting our mail service and they would give greater focus to the initiatives which will enable mail to have a pivotal and growing position in the changing communications and distribution arenas.

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