Australia Post’s retail strategy provides the best example of a retail strategy that could serve both urban and rural communities in the United States. Australia Post serves both very large cities and some of the most rural areas in the developed world. Australia Post also illustrate what is needed in develooping that can use both corporate and contracted outlets with most retail services provided in contracted or franchised outlets. Australia Post is of particular interest as it most proved retail services to a significant number of communities that are as remote as any community in the most rural parts of the United States.
Australia Post has four types of contract or franchised outlets.
- Licensed Post Offices provide two thirds of all retail outlets of Australia Post and are located in urban, suburban and rural areas.
- Community Post Offices are located in the most rural and remote areas. There are 650 Community Post Offices in Australia.
- Franchises are the newest contracted outlet. Australia Post has not provided information on the number of franchises.
- Post Shops (Corporate Post Offices) – corporate Post Offices are located primarily in larger communities.
The following are descriptions of the non-corporate retail outlets that Australia Post uses that is provided by Australia Post on its website
Licensed post offices (LPOs)
The products and services available from these outlets are generally the same as offered at corporately owned and operated outlets. The availability of agency services, such as bill payment facilities and banking is usually dependent on the commercial choices of the principal of the particular agency.
Key benefits of the LPO model include:
- use of Australia Post’s well established brand
- annually revised fee and commission structure, with discounts for the purchase of Australia Post products
- access to management and business systems
- on-going professional training and support
- opt in for point-of-sale and marketing programs.
The LPO model at a glance
- LPOs can be run as stand alone outlets or in conjunction with another business.
- A licensee is granted a licence to use Australia Post systems, manuals, trade marks and image in the operation of a LPO at nominated premises.
- There is no term for the licence, and the licence can be assigned at any time subject to Australia Post approval.
- Licensees can manage the outlet on a day to day basis or appoint a manager. They are also responsible for recruiting, training and managing their staff.
- LPOs offer a mandatory range of Australia Post products and services including postage stamps, money orders, bill payment and banking, and mail acceptance and processing. Additional products and services such as philatelic items; Postpak; cards, stationery and gifts; and Post Office Boxes may also be offered. Some LPOs are also required to undertake mail processing and delivery work.
- Trading hours are typically between 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. LPOs often open for extended trading (eg Saturday mornings) depending on local circumstances.
- Licensees are responsible for the premises, including location, fit-out (both of which are subject to Australia Post approval), maintenance and for all operating costs. They may also be required to pay a point-of- sale technology fee.
- Income is earned from fees and commissions for work performed, and a discount for the purchase of Australia Post products also applies.