New South African Post Office (SAPO) CEO Mark Barnes said e-commerce is one of the cornerstones of his plan to revive the Post Office.
Getting South African e-commerce players to use the Post Office, instead of courier services, is seen as a way to bolster dwindling mail revenues.
Answering questions from MyBroadband, SAPO e-business head Nkosinathi Tolom said the Post Office is excited about the prospect of entering the e-commerce space.
“This will change the Post Office’s current business model, and provide customers with services through digital means,” said Tolom.
He said the Post Office already offers electronic products, which includes online postbox renewals, Virtual Post Office services, and Hybrid Mail.
Here are some of the e-business services which the Post Office offers which many South Africans do not know about.
The Post Office has a Hybrid Mail service, where electronic data is converted into letters, printed, enveloped, and delivered.
Hybrid Mail addresses customers’ bulk mailing requirements – from general communications to customer statements and bills.
It offers secure printing, processing, and delivery of bulk mail to the closest point of delivery via the Post Office.
This service is particularly useful for companies that send out large numbers of accounts and statements.
Virtual Post Office
The Virtual Post Office is an online branch which offers electronic products and services. It is an additional channel for some of the Post Office’s existing products and services that are available at a traditional branch.
The website offers stamps and envelopes, renewal of postboxes, payment of traffic fines, and a postcode lookup service.
Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment System
The Post Office’s Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment System allows for the presentment and payment of bills through municipal websites, cellphones, and Internet banking.
The system is used by Tshwane and Ekurhuleni municipalities, which makes it possible for their customers to view, download, and make payments to the city using the municipalities’ web portal and electronic kiosks in shopping malls.
The Post Office is a registered Wireless Application Service Provider (WASP), which means it is able to supply SMS-based services to South Africans.
The SAPO eMessaging service lets businesses send bulk or personalised communications to customers using SMS and email.
This is a value added service designed to complement existing business communications.
South African Post Office Trust Centre
The Post Office has developed a Trust Centre in the Western Cape that houses the Public Key Infrastructure.
This includes national “offline” root certificates and related certificate authorities, with the objective of delivering authentication services.
Using this service adds legislated status to customer communications, transactions, and service delivery services.
Digital certificates enable encryption of messages, and documents can be signed electronically – with the electronic signature providing legal status.