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The role EMS fulfills in cross-border e-commerce

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Customer tracking EMS parcel

Cross border e-commerce purchases have resumed in many advanced economies,[1] defying the negative impact of COVID-19 on global exports. The pandemic shifted buying patterns from international e-commerce sales channels in favour of purchasing from domestic e-commerce sources. This phenomenon began in January in Asia and has transitioned westward over time. Starting in April, the resumption of flight frequencies enabled consumers to re-engage in cross border e-commerce; often beginning intra-regionally before opening up inter-continental trade lanes.

In addition to changes witnessed in e-commerce sales channels, consumer purchases also shifted from apparel, miscellaneous consumer electronics, etc. towards ‘lifestyle goods’ that more closely reflect consumers’ daily lives during COVID-19. Examples of surging ‘lifestyle goods’ being purchased include hobby items (e.g. art and craft products), health and fitness (e.g. equipment, etc.), personal grooming (e.g. hair and body products), as well as work from home supplies (e.g. webcams, laptops, etc.). EMS is ideally positioned to capitalize on these online shopping trends as more Posts reopen their transportation networks.

How EMS aligns with shipper needs

A distinctive way to understand how EMS aligns with shippers’ cross border needs is to examine the shipment characteristics of items that are currently sent by EMS.     

Characteristic Common attributes
Merchandise value Medium to lower value items; shipping price does not exceed contents
Shipment size   Lower weight shipments; often less than 5 kg
Destination type Residential delivery; mainly consumer e-commerce cross-border purchases
Speed of service Within a week; acceptable transit for important, and not urgent shipments

Notwithstanding headwinds from the pandemic, the reach of cross border e-commerce will continue to expand in both countries served and merchandise shipped. Posts have adapted EMS to satisfy today’s market requirements to have a reliable service that provides shipment visibility and responsive customer service. The most recent deployment of the i-Care customer service system by the EMS Cooperative is indicative of Posts’ pursuit to constantly enhance EMS to address evolving customer needs.

How EMS is viewed within the countries served

The Posts function as a single network supported by the EMS Cooperative, serving both businesses’ and consumers’ needs for convenience and innovative export solutions. Examples that illustrate how Posts have adapted EMS to serve local populations include:

Post Local adaptations
Australia Post Consumer needs for convenience resulted in adopting 24/7 parcel lockers, ‘Parcel Collect’ alternate delivery sites and the ‘MyPost’ mobile app.
Cayman Islands Postal Service Developed its ‘Tourism Flat Rate Box’, in partnership with the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, to help grow revenue for the country’s largest industry.
Japan Post Is highly regarded for its service excellence and innovative solutions (e.g. Cool EMS).

How EMS is positioned against market alternatives

In serving both, shipper needs and working with foreign Postal partners to adapt to the requirements of cross border e-commerce, Posts have amassed enormous local market knowledge that uniquely positions them to be very knowledgeable about export requirements and efficient operators within their respective countries. In fact, competing carriers will often opt to form partnerships with Posts to supplement limitations in their cross border operational networks (e.g. needing aid in acceptance, etc.).

The EMS value proposition is unique compared to market alternatives with published prices set at a fair-value and transit commitments that are completely appropriate for important cross border e-commerce purchases. Exceptional market expertise coupled with reasonable pricing, suitable transit commitments and consistent reliability enhance the value of EMS particularly among businesses seeking to grow their cross border e-commerce revenues.

[1] According to the International Monetary Fund, there are 39 countries classified as ‘developed (advanced) economies’ including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.