Monday, July 06, 2015

Change has been delivered

Recently, we got a flyer in our letterbox. “The world is changing,” it declared, “so we’re changing too.” Above that, a smiling lady looks down happily at her packages—or is it the NZ Post logo? Apparently she welcomes the changes.

Starting this month, New Zealand Post is delivering ordinary post to street addresses in urban areas only three days a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, or else Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday (priority items will still be delivered every day). I had no idea which we are, but we had things in our letterbox on Saturday—did the changes take effect July 1 or the first full week in July (this week)?

I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that our delivery days are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday because I looked it up online (of course I did!). As it happens, we’ve seldom received any mail on a Monday for many years.

Actually, we get virtually no mail at all on any day, so I really doubt we’ll notice the change. What we do get: Advertising flyers, local free newspapers, and the odd bit of real estate marketing, some of which is actually addressed to us, more or less, but none of that stuff is delivered by NZ Post. Instead, virtually all the stuff we used to get by post is now delivered electronically, and I can’t actually remember the last time I posted anything personally; it may have been my overseas ballot in 2012.

Apparently, we’re not alone in that.

“As New Zealanders do more online,” the flyer continues on the other side, “they’re sending fewer letters and more emails. Today our Posties deliver half the number of letters they used to.” Half since when, I wonder; it didn’t say.

But it’s clear NZ Post is trying to evolve. They recently started running ads on how “you can” use their services to conduct global business (I’m simplifying the message). The first of the “you can” ads is also the oddest—and not available for embedding (probably because it features actor Charles Dance, of Game of Thrones, among other things). The second two ads highlight real New Zealand business and how they integrate with NZ Post services, and how that can make things easier for us all.

“You can take your business anywhere”:

“You can get it to your online customers the same day”:

The fourth and most recent ad, “You can shop around the world with YouShop”, shows us how we can use NZ Post to shop in the USA (and certain other countries), even when the company doesn’t ship to New Zealand. That ad, oddly, also isn’t embeddable.

Taken together, the ads show a clear strategic direction for the company. Essentially, it seems to me, they’re positioning themselves as a modern-day logistics and fulfilment company (and printing, and…). Other videos on their YouTube Channel talk about what they can do for businesses.

I have no idea whether NZ Post will successfully transition to the new reality in which hardly anybody posts anything anymore, but in the short term, at least, I think they could do well. But with 3D printing technology, it’s entirely possible—probable, even—that the need to ship a great many things will continue to decline.

So, the changes aren’t over yet—indeed, they never are. This is just another concrete example of how things have changed as technology has changed. We’ll adapt—we always do.

The photo of the NZ Post flyer is my own (Credit: Arthur Schenck). [CC BY-NC-SA NZ 3.0].

Soon with real snails (October 2013) – when the changes were announced
Postage due (January 2013) – when the changes were first mooted

1 comment:

rogerogreen said...

I HATE change! All of those quarters and nickels just weigh me down!
Oh, wait, never mind.