Challenge Project

Preferred choice of eCommerce Delivery

What can UPU or post offices offer more than other parties to become the preferred choice of eCommerce Delivery?

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"We know e-commerce / cross border is growing. But based on the recent statistics, UPU is not gaining any market share, but rather losing in this space. a) What can UPU Or post offices do to present an attractive and competitive option for e-commerce marketplaces to gain market share with e-commerce platforms? b) How can UPU make it easy for others to integrate by providing an Interoperable standards-based setup for various players in e-commerce or even 3PL plsyrtd - value chain to collaborate? c) Will adding more transparency in fees, VAT collection and disbursement, pricing, logistics, and convenient Payment help? d) How can post-office offer verified Digital identity and Verified addresses to add value? e) Any other ways to boost revenue of Designated operators or UPU?"

Problem: Mail volume is reducing since emails have become prominent. Ecommerce is growing but UPU /Postal network is not getting enough volumes to deliver.

For: The biggest impact is for UPU and Designated Operators.

Goal: Find unique ways how UPU & Postal operators increase their share of e-commerce delivery and find ways of alternative revenue

Challenge Owner:
Santosh Gopal

📎 Post offices as prefered choice of Ecomerce Delivery.pdf



For more background on our design process, scroll down to the README.

Preferred choice of eCommerce Delivery

Postal services around the world are losing customers are losing markets and having a common problem. We are trying to come up with a product or service that would help the postal administrations be the first port of call for e-commerce.

See details in

What is our proposed solution?

How: it is possible to come up with a customer Identity, linked to a database that postal administrations already have, and one that we could make better use of. We are focusing on Ghana as a case study, where there is a DB of consumer identities and GPS-based, verified locations. We are discussing developing this data in a way that both makes the postal service useful for e-commerce, as well as protecting privacy and building trust with all users. A strong consumer identity would allow us to apply data science, and make sure that we have analysed the preferences, demographics, etc., ethically and correctly.

What are our most apparent roadblocks?

We need to ensure sure that the consumers continue trust us - in particulra, so that they continue updating their data with us. A number of approaches were discussed, including Trust Labels, codes of conduct, benchmarking and new types of government regulation for digital services.

The next part is how to excite consumers to work with us and share their data. Currently in the marketplace, businesses are trying constantly to sell to consumers - but people want to buy, rather than be sold to. Consumers feel like they are being lured into buying. Junk mail is a huge global environmental and social problem, and rather than adding to it, we want to create economically compelling alternatives that are better for the resident, and the planet.

Suppose we can say that we have 5000 consumers ready to buy new shoes. Are you, the shoe brand, willing to give them a discount? We can link them to the manufacturers or businesses through their postal ID, allowing us to be the liaison between the consumer and manufacturer athe first first level. However, we must have an equivocal and open marketplace for this to work. In Ghana the MTM and Expresspay are two examples of mobile payments apps, somewhat similar to TWINT in Switzerland, that could be combined with Postal data to improve customer profiling for algorithmic offers.

As postal administrators, we do not deliver to locations, but to people. We do not even really "need" the locations - we need the people! The missing link is the consumer ID, the virtual personality of the consumer. Imagine that we have an app that allows consumers to show their preferences at some point in time. For example, I am looking for a car or mobile phone. The consumer gives us an opportunity to send them information or offers on that topic.

Researching the context

In order to understand the situation in their country, our team members from the Ghana Post (a government-owned corporation responsible for postal service in Ghana and a member of the West African Postal Conference) gave us many insights into the administrative, cultural, and geographic aspects of the postal sector.

We looked up topics on Wikipedia, used OpenStreetMap and Open Data for Africa to access basic datasets, referenced the Global Data Barometer and latest UN Country Team report and information from the UPU about the country's membership. All the links are cited below.

Prototyping approach

We have support from software integration consultants Tao Digital, as well as test access to the Amazon Lightsail product.

On day I we used a design thinking tool, the How-Now-Wow Matrix, to sort through a wide range of opportunities that we came up with for Ghana Post during our sessions as a team. Participants from Ghana, France, Cameroon, Switzerland and the USA were involved in supporting these efforts. At the end of the day we came up with the name "GhanaLife" to express our idea for this new identity. We do not intend to infringe upon the name of a life insurance company, rather convey the message that beyond Proximity and Relocations, it is the Signs of Life are the focus of our interest.

Our goal for day II is to set up a shared Data Analytics platform, and create a number of infographics based on a statistical analysis of some of the data provided by the UPU and the open data available to us. We plan to include this in our presentation addressed at "leapfrogging the status quo" in postal services, confronting the perception that the work of postal workers is only in moving letters and parcels around, and presenting some declarative statements around the commitments that need to be maintained for a fair, sustainable, pragmatic solution to the problem above. Depending on how much time we are able to productively use, our further goals would be to demo:

* Concept and software architecture of an identity management app for Ghana Post customers.
* A system for collecting and updating personal details in a safe and reliable way.
* Linkable analytics based on the GPS location data from the Ghana Post.
* Integrations with external e-commerce platform APIs (Jumia, Shopify, Amazon etc.)
* Verification using mobile phone message, or with the Ghana Card.




Open Data and Personal Identity

Swiss perspective

Examples in other countries (Integrating Canada Post and Shopify)


“It was agreed that now that the Ghana card has made a lot of impact in our society – as we speak now, almost 17 million Ghanaians have registered for the Ghana card, so, the Commission, in collaboration with our partners, took the decision that: ‘Now, let’s have the Ghana card as the main requirement’”, Dr Bossman Asare, Deputy Chairman of the EC in charge of Corporate Services, said.

“I am not the one saying it, but if you look at the figures from the NIA, then you will understand that even there are more people – more people than the 7.9 million people whose SIM cards have been blocked… if you put the number of people who are looking for Ghana Cards in general and cannot get, they are countless people” -- Dr. Abed Bandim

“The automatic link occurred when the individual's data transferred from the database of the NIA to that of the GRA were in sync and automatically linked by the integrated system, while the manual link occurred when an individual's data transferred from the database of the NIA to the database of the GRA were not in sync” -- Dr Owusu-Amoah

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