Aus Post makes snail mail electronic

Australia Post has charged into e-services through a new streamlined postage deal with eBay as well as the launch of a new mobile website and iPhone app.
Written by Luke Hopewell, Contributor

Australia Post has charged into e-services through a new streamlined postage deal with eBay as well as the launch of a new mobile website and iPhone app.

The joint Australia Post/eBay offering — called "Click-to-Send" — is a postage service for Australia's 8 million registered eBay users, removing the need to go to a local post office to send an item. Instead, users print pre-filled address labels, pay for postage online and order a courier pick-up.

According to PayPal Australia, the local e-commerce market is set to explode with $9.8 billion growth projected over the next two years.

Chris Koo, group manager of parcels for Australia Post, said that the eBay partnership "represents the coming together of the largest retail presence in Australia and the most popular online sales channel in Australia".

The renewal of Australia Post's "Future Ready" program, which is meant to restructure the way Australia Post does business, will also see the company backing new e-service offerings.

The program aims to re-structure Australia Post into four new business units: postal services, retail services, express distribution services and a dedicated e-services department.

Australia Post's CEO, Ahmed Fahour, said that Future Ready will allow Australia Post to do everything it does in the physical world in a digital space.

"The e-services business will be a dedicated new business incubator focusing on opportunities such as secure, identity-verified, digital communications, e-commerce initiatives and other services that we can offer electronically, to complement our physical network," the organisation's website says.

The first implementation of the new e-services strategy has come in the form of a new Australia Post mobile website and iPhone app, launched in the last week.

The new app — which works across the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch — and the mobile specific website give users access to letter and parcel tracking, postcode search and access to POSTbillpay services.

Australia Post has had an overwhelming response to its new mobile app, with over 1300 downloads in the first 24 hours of its release. The app has now risen to the most downloaded business application for iPad in its first week of release.

Lanie Harris, national media manager for Australia Post, told ZDNet Australia that there were no immediate plans to launch the app for Android. However, Harris said that "Australia Post is exploring how it can provide digital services to other customers."

According to Australia Post, over 50,000 users log on to the Australia Post website every day from mobile devices. Eighty per cent of those were iPhone users.

Australia Post's general manager for internet and contact centres, Brady Jacobsen, said that the successful take-up of iPhone postal apps overseas had led to the implementation of the mobile strategy locally.

"When French postal organisation Le Poste launched their iPhone app on 19 April it was downloaded 75,000 times on the first day, so we're expecting our customers to take to the technology with equal enthusiasm."

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