Over the past few years, La Poste has undergone a veritable technological transformation. It has also just announced the launch for 2023 of a “digital stamp” which will allow any user to simplify their postal shipments. The efforts made by this historic distributor to offer ever more different innovations and services are worthy of the functioning of a start-up.
La Poste will invest 300 million euros in digital in 5 years
La Poste seems to be embarking on a race for innovation. The latest proof, announced on June 28, is the launch of a digital stamp. Really digital since it will be with numbers. We explain to you. If you need to post an urgent letter to a mailbox down the street and there’s no post office nearby or no printer at home either, if you ever wanted to postage your mail in this way, from 2023, it will be possible to go to the La Poste website or app, and in exchange for payment, you will be given an 8-character code to simply copy onto the envelope. Thus, you can now deposit your letter so that it leaves on the first raising. This is just one example among others of what La Poste is currently doing to innovate. We no longer recognize this company, launched headlong into a very technological diversification.
In recent years, La Poste has almost systematically traveled with postmen to the CES in Las Vegas, the major high-tech fair. For example, it presented connected buttons allowing parcels to be sent from a mailbox in our buildings or in front of our houses. Other lines of development, La Poste has bought the software publisher Pronote, which is used in schools. It has thus developed its Digiposte service, which is a digital safe on which, for example, companies can deposit their employees’ pay slips, thus avoiding printing them. There is also its digital identity service, which in the long term could save us from having to remember hundreds of passwords or from having to scan and send our identity card for a whole bunch of procedures. Today, this service already allows French people living abroad to vote in elections. La Poste will invest a total of 300 million euros in digital technology over 5 years. All this is in addition to all the services launched by La Poste in recent years. We are thinking in particular of home help, driving licenses and the Postal Bank which is a real success, just like its low-cost and 100% online little sister, Ma French Bank.
Post office traffic has fallen by more than 50% in 10 years
It is therefore obvious that all these efforts are not superfluous. Indeed, everyone knows that we use less and less mail. This is also confirmed by the frequentation of post offices with 900,000 customer visits per day, against 2 million just 10 years ago. The spectacular rise in the stamp price will not compensate for this drop. The stamp now costs 1.43 euros for a priority stamp and 1.16 euros for a green letter. Twenty years ago, we paid 46 euro cents for the stamp, that is to say 3 times less than today. The Post therefore has no choice. It must modernize. It must also manage its workforce because in 2022 only one out of two retirees will be replaced. Its post offices are also shrinking. 10 years ago, there were 10,000 against 7,250 today. In total, La Poste is still present in 17,000 “points of contact”which include, for example, municipal postal agencies in town halls.
What she is doing is significant. It really works like a start-up, and pivots when things go wrong. We are very far from the image of an old lady that the Post Office would be, distant from its ancestor the PTT. We can only salute the spirit of initiative shown by its leaders, it also takes courage and determination to move a mammoth like La Poste. Everything will not necessarily be a hit in the innovations that have been raised, but you have to try and multiply the floats (the expression is in fashion at the moment in politics) so as not to sink with the sinking of the mail.
Listen to François Geffrier (5’30):