Declining mail volumes are pushing NZPost into exploring new business models involving other kinds of deliveries, including KFC and restaurant deliveries.
“Every post office around the world has declining mail volumes, and for post to be around for another 100 years it will need to be doing different things,” says NZPost spokesman Mike Stewart.
Tauranga is the site of a pilot model where NZ Post is delivering buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken about the city, for the fast food operator.
“It's not posties or couriers doing the delivery, we have got a separate network set up to do the delivery,” says Mike.
“We are calling it a freelance network as a working name. The idea, the pilot that we are testing is people want to log in to do deliveries and log off again when they can, so it's very flexible.”
Aimed at students or people who want to work two four or eight hours over a couple of days, they can log in and NZPost can allocate the delivery drives.
NZ Post has recruited 30 delivery drivers for the KFC Tauranga pilot, with most of them being students or retirees using their own transport and smartphones.
“We are not limiting it to one brand. What we are trying to learn is there a market to that type of approach to it building a network, and what does it look like? It's in the early stages,” says Mike.
“So we will learn a few things and decide how it goes from there. It's certainly an opportunity for post to branch out from its core daytime deliveries if you like.
“The area we are in is looking at exploring, running experiments and pilots to uncover some new revenue streams and new areas of business that we don't normally do, and look at the future really.”
The learning curve has been underway since the beginning of the month.
“We are delivering for a number of restaurants as well as a secondary pilot.
“For the restaurants, it exposes them to a broader market, so hopefully it's good for everybody,” says Mike.
“The on-demand is a really strong proposition around the world so there's no reason why it shouldn't be a strong proposition here.”
People want goods delivered to their home in 30-60 minutes, says Mike.
NZPost has also been experimenting with deliveries for the health and construction centre.
In the last decade the number of letters sent in New Zealand has halved.
In an attempt to stem the losses, the price of sending a medium-size letter by FastPost is scheduled to rise by NZ$0.50c in July from NZ$1.80 to $2.30.