By Robert Tuomi
(WINDSOR, ON) – If there is one distinction about marketing it is the ability to provide a service customers are willing to pay for. Canada Post’s surprise December 11 announcement of the end of urban mail delivery may create a number of opportunities for entrepreneurs to respond to a new market of providing post office services.
As the CBC National reported, there is an issue with the security of roadside community mail boxes. They are not immune from being broken into. Could the post office solve that problem and also help convenience stores solve one of their singularly important challenges of getting people to visit their shops?
Many convenience stores are conveniently located, thus their category. Could the post office put its community mailboxes inside local shops? This would not only, most likely, be a less expensive solution but would also enhance the security of letters while increasing each store’s traffic which could enhance sales levels, possibly so much so that the space might be offered rent free or nominally at best.
Would it also be possible for convenience stores to become mini-post offices, spokes of a franchise postal outlet hub? The post office has moved to a franchise type system with many postal stations now located within Shoppers’ Drug Marts, for instance. These drug stores also have a fleet of drivers offering free prescription delivery and return back to the stores empty. Instead, they might be able to pick up parcels from the convenience stores and hold them for Canada Post pick-up from the franchise.
There is considerable worry by many who now enjoy home delivery, about a third of the nation’s households, about the loss of this convenience, including senior citizens or those with limited or compromised mobility. Could this be another opportunity in the making?
Could locals, for a fee, pick-up their neighbours’ mail. Certainly they would not get rich, although this would not restrict more creative business types from setting up a structure to replace Canada Post home delivery.
However, being a part-time mail delivery person would not make someone wealthy but could provide extra income for seniors or students or others with time on their hands.
A small fee multiplied by a number of customers and the number of days mail could be delivered could be an interesting side-line with little expense. If it catches on it could be quite the cottage industry.
The changes by Canada Post are understandable and will allow the outfit to reduce its concentration on letter delivery, which continues to decline, and to increase its resources to tackle parcel delivery, which is increasing as more people buy from web sites. However, it might also create new opportunities for Canadians.
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