Kenya Postal Corporation Betting On E-Commerce With a Digital Proposition

You don't have to be a Kenyan citizen to understand the frustrations of picking up a parcel at the post office. But with the increasingly nomadic lives and the constant lack of time, the Postal Kenya Corporation is promising to make the process more pleasant and exciting.

It's a Process that hasn't changed much since independence in 1964, but competition from the private sector has spurred innovation and efficiency. Now, PKC's partnership with telco giant Safaricom to launch 'MPost' a digital postal service - may see the complete transformation of the traditional Postal office.

With Online shopping booming in Kenya, pioneered by players such as Safaricom's Masoko, Jumia and even international players including AliExpress and Amazon, KPC is focusing on delivering parcels, but it has no monopoly in this business and its network was originally build for letters.

However, since March of 2019 when Safaricom partnered with Chinese Ecommerce giant AliExpress.com to allow Kenyans shopping on the platform to pay for their Parcels using M-PESA, 62 percent of Posta Kenya deliveries are initiated through AliExpress.

The trick is that a shopper doesn't require to have a physical Post Office Box, rather, for only Ksh 300 bob per year on the MPost App, AliExpress shoppers can register their mobile number to act as their virtual PO Box.

For instance, MPost box numbers will be in the format "P. O. Box 254XXXXXXXXX" where XXXXXXXXX denotes the customer's mobile phone number, for example this writer's address would be, "P. O. Box 254702622453"

This means that customers will also have the option of selecting which Post Office to pick their deliveries from by keying the Postal Code of the particular branch.

AliExpress which has wide variety of affordable items this black Friday season, with items including Mobile phones and accessories, Kitchenware, beauty and electronics going for discounted prices of up to a whole 75 percent - is also offering another 10 percent waiver for all check out payments made with MPESA.

A shopper can also change their preferred delivery Post Office at no additional cost by dialing *234#. But customers can also choose additional services such as physical delivery of parcel to their door step, or parcel pickup for delivery. Both services will be offered at an additional fee per delivery based on the source or destination.

The service represents a significant relief in charges for customers, from the Ksh 2,320 per year for a Physical box to just Ksh 300 per year on MPost app, payable via an MPESA STK prompt on the App.

Mr. Dan Kagwe - the post Master general, now views MPost as a stage for revitalization of the Kenya Postal Corporation as hub for ecommerce that will make logistics seamless.

On his part, Cabinet Secretary Mr. Joe Mucheru says that MPost fits squarely with Kenya's digital economy blueprint that President Uhuru announced during the transform Africa Summit 2019 in Kigali, Rwanda.

He was speaking at a colorful ceremony, during the official launch of the MPost the service.

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