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Considerable competition exists today. National postal services have been battling to keep their share of the pie in a contest that features local logistics companies, Deutsche Post, DHL and UPS, as well as TNT Post and German parcel operator, Hermes, who have recently started to expand their European networks.
In spite of strong market barriers and industry restraints, the good news is that the B2C parcel delivery market will continue to grow, ensuring that the pie will be big enough for everyone – at least for the near term.
Online retailing is limited to purchases where touch or product trial is less important.
Looking further ahead, market development will depend on the overall supply chain; such as how much retail companies will invest in online sales; how web site technologies and payment methods will develop; how efficient the logistics is and how conveniently consumers can pick up their parcels etc. Two developments are worth special mention.
The first is the development of new innovative delivery modes and technologies. Self-service parcel terminals, where consumers can pick-up their own deliveries, are altering the market. Several European national postal service companies have already set up small networks of the terminals or have at least a pilot project. Deutsche Post DHL operates the biggest network of ‘Packstations’ in Germany (approximately 2,500 terminals). Other examples include Post Danmark A/S (120 terminals) and Norway Post (40 terminals).
A Packstation in Munich, Germany (Source: Wikipedia)
The second is the collaboration amongst industry players to ensure a smooth shopping experience for consumers. Significant business opportunities are available for companies that are able to offer total “360” solutions. For this reason, large companies such as TNT aim to offer a full range of services along the supply chain, from online marketing, managing web stores and online payments to e-fulfillment, physical delivery and after-sales customer service.
Further development of innovative delivery modes and technologies and collaboration amongst key players will be key to developing Europe’s fast growing B2C parcel delivery market.
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