Ever since my wife started her online maternity shop, the daily happenings at Singapore Post have become dinner table conversation at home.
With packages being mailed out daily, delays resulting in customer complaints reach my ears. Therefore, I took a personal interest in the reported delays of up to two weeks experienced by Singapore Post customers for what used to be a two-day turnaround and complaints of misplaced mail.
Subsequent newspaper reports on the issue reported that from June to November 2010, the volume of mail handled by Singapore Post grew by 30 percent compared to the previous year.
In addition, a significant rise in online shopping prompted a 90 percent increase in the volume of parcels handled in November 2010, compared to November 2009. These increases coupled with the fact that parcels are more difficult to handle than letter mail, led to the current situation.
Those are very interesting e-commerce figures for Singapore's fledgling online industry (and it explains why there are more brown packages lying around my home). It also identifies a possible growth area that Singapore Post and any other parcel post provider may wish to seize.
With the burgeoning situation, online shops must also pay more attention to service delivery provisions in their contracts. For instance, they may wish to offer registered mail and insurance add-ons, provide for who is to bear the risk for packages lost in mail, and offer other delivery choices such as courier, pickup and meet-up services.
They could also relook at whether a guaranteed turnaround time is possible with their current delivery service provider.