Why Amazon should buy Australia Post, or at least have an arranged marriage…

If you read my blog last week about the death of pure play online retailers you’ll understand the headline above.

Amazon is bleeding money paying for free delivery of goods. And no marketer in their right mind ever gives away free delivery unless it’s a special offer.


Predictions by very smart people like Scott Galloway and Mark Kolier, are that for Amazon to survive, it will have to acquire retailers with outlets spread across the country – lots of countries in fact. The cost of delivering goods is too much for them to absorb to remain profitable.

Australia Post (AP) is in dire straits. It’s stopped supporting one of the most powerful marketing channels – direct mail – to become a courier company. They let essential mail such as financial statements and invoices move to email – despite it costing businesses more than traditional mail.

So AP gave up the ghost and decided to change its tagline to pretend it was an online business. It now makes the ridiculous claim that it’s “powering online shopping” – like that’s a believable statement.

We have swag, we’re now an internet company

For those who are not aware, AP is the largest retailer in Australia, in terms of the number of retail outlets – almost 7,000 stores of various types. This makes AP the perfect place to collect products bought online, particularly given AP also delivers said products to people’s homes and letterboxes.

AP outlets
AP has more than 7,000 retail outlets…

The problem of course, is AP will have to change its hours of business. Many people shop online because they work during the day and don’t have time to visit stores. They will want to collect their online orders after hours – which are the hours AP never works. Hence a little customer service conundrum.

AP could build locker networks like post boxes that customers can access after hours, but they will still need to include a layer of humans for customers to engage with if there are problems or questions. Given its trade union roots, this will be a tough challenge.

AP will have to change its hours of business…

Amazon needs to acquire a retailer with stores around the country. What better option than AP? Amazon’s customer service focus will ensure the retail doors are open for pick-ups at the time customers want to collect their goods. And AP will benefit from the additional business Amazon brings.

AP runs a very profitable courier service and could offer savings to Amazon in delivery costs, in addition to the benefit of the retail network.

It seems the perfect analogue-digital marriage. They could even print commemorative wedding stamps to add a little boost to the economy.


I’d be happy to give away the AP bride, here’s why:

I’m about to collect a parcel from the regional (not local) post office, in its business hours. I wasn’t at home when the AP courier turned up with it. Instead of leaving the parcel by the door, like the wine companies do, AP left me a notice to collect it from them. So I now have to fight traffic to a location where there is almost no available parking. It will take at least an hour just to pick up the parcel. It would have been easier to drive to the shopping centre and buy the goods at the store.


Please Amazon won’t you take this AP hand in marriage and make Australian consumers live happily ever after…


  1. This is one of your seminal works Mal! So much insight and logic in one so young…
    In our (old-fashioned, non-digital) game we have always had to think outside the box (no pun intended) – particularly in Australia where vast distances and sparse population have always presented fulfilment challenges. (Yes, we had those before the invention of the interweb).

    The web has indeed brought disruption to business but not necessarily profitable disruption. Sometimes businesses just have to gird their loins and tough it through while all the new challengers learn that their new and radical offers generate lots of sales and zero profits… It is called “survival of the profitable”!

    It was similar logic that prompted me to encourage AP to enter the wine home delivery business in 1999 and I would love your idea to be the next step in the evolution of the company.

  2. Thanks Richard, AP has enormous potential to be a major digital player as it has every home and business address of every person and company in the country. I took them a proposal in 2000 to capitalise and monetise this opportunity by becoming the biggest publisher in the country – they looked at me like I was living in a parallel universe and missed the opportunity. Fresh blood is needed if AP is to really become a digital player.

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