Research Brief The role of alternative letter service providers in growing e-commerce

Large postal companies such as Deutsche Post benefit through their nationwide delivery networks for letters, parcels and parcels from the rapidly growing online trade and the resulting consignments of goods, while the alternative letter service providers, on the other hand, are often still in their infancy. The short study discusses which strategies alternative letter services pursue in order to participate in the growth of letter box packages and parcels, and which challenges they face. Five case studies show that alternative letter service providers are able to adapt their business models and offer a wide range of offers for the delivery of goods in order to benefit from the growing online trade. They cooperate with parcel service providers and online marketplaces (such as Amazon), offer value-added services and put some effort to develop own offers for the delivery of letter box packages and parcels. However, alternative letter services cannot offer their customers a nationwide delivery service at competitive prices. On the one hand, the alternative letter services and their networks do not deliver everywhere. On the other hand, there is a lack of common standards and, in some cases, local letter service providers do not meet the operational requirements. In addition, the lack of access to comparable business customer products from Deutsche Post makes it more difficult for the alternative letter services to place their own offers for letterbox packages in the market.

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