October 9 is celebrated as the World Post Day, a service that has got transformed over the years with the evolution of technology.
With even confidential documents delivered as attachments at the click of a mouse within seconds, the traditional postal services have given way to e-commerce.
Going by the numbers, there are still takers for traditional postal services.
In 2016, Oman recorded a movement of 10,433 domestic and international postal items, according to National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI). The total number of domestic mail transactions in 2016 was 9,716,625 letters and postal transactions 716,376.
Oman has 80 postal offices and 67,000 private mailboxes.
Muscat accounted for 44.6 per cent of the total revenues.
Speaking to the Observer, a number of active online shoppers and users of courier services said getting their online purchases to Muscat is an expensive affair despite the strong Internet and mobile penetration over the years and e-payment facilities.
“The delivery model for e-commerce in Oman has improved over the years but it still needs to be faster, efficient and affordable,” said Mariam al Balushi, an active online shopper. She said Oman Post should focus on e-commerce and make it possible for online shoppers to collect items from their branches, if not door-to-door delivery.
Private courier companies are expensive and Oman Post should step in to make e-commerce affordable, said the online shoppers.
“For small businesses in Oman, renting retail shops is difficult. If an efficient delivery channel for goods can be established through Oman Post, it will be easier for them to flourish with limited investment,” said Mohammed Salem, who is keen on starting a successful shopping portal from Oman.
Oman Post, on its part, has been making serious efforts towards transformation over the past couple of years.
Earlier this year, Abdulmalik Abdulkarim al Balushi, CEO, Oman Post, told the Observer that extreme changes are essential as the survival of the postal entity in its current shape is in question now.
“A strategy is being finalised for the next five years. We have looked at our strengths; we want to serve people and for this we need investment in human resources as well as technology.”
The CEO said the postal services are IT-dependent and the company will invest appropriately to provide quality service to its customers.
He also said Oman Post will venture into a number of new areas, including financial services, e-commerce, touch points to be managed by third parties, distribution centres, mail pick-up and delivery schemes.
“Private courier companies are very expensive and it is one of the reasons why people still come to us. I want to tell you the services offered at Oman Post have evolved and we still have a steady flow of customers daily,” said an executive at one of the Oman Post’s branches.
He said we should change with time in terms of services and it will make a big difference.
World Post Day is celebrated annually to mark the anniversary of the Universal Postal Union’s (UPU) creation in 1874. The purpose is to highlight the post’s role in the everyday lives of people and businesses as well as its contribution to global social and economic development.