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01
08
2016

Postal service closer to the consumer: the first post station in Estonia was opened ten years ago

Ten years ago today the first post station in Estonia was opened in Leevaku near the town of Räpina – the A&O shop in Leevaku started providing postal services as well. The first post station in Estonia is still very much operational and more and more post stations have been opened in the last ten years: quite soon there will be more post stations in shops, libraries and other establishments than there are single-purpose post offices in Estonia.
 
According to Eve Vuks, Head of Omniva’s Retail Network unit, this change is logical in every way. “People’s needs with regard to postal services have changed – the number of letters sent is constantly decreasing while the number of parcels sent is increasing, and instead of going to a post office, people prefer more convenient channels and places they frequent anyway to receive parcels. Therefore, traditional post offices that operate as separate establishments are becoming outdated and smarter and smarter solutions must be invented to provide services,” she explained.
 
In order to provide a service that is more compatible with people’s needs, Eesti Post has looked for alternative solutions to post offices and found that the model of post stations that has been implemented with great success in several other countries in Europe, would be suitable for Estonia. According to this approach, postal services move closer to people – to village shops, libraries, village community offices. “In Denmark, for example, there are more than 900 post stations like this where partners of Post Danmark, the company responsible for the Danish postal service, render the service. Post Danmark only has around 30 traditional post offices,” Vuks added. In like manner, Ireland, for example, has 52 post offices and over 1,200 post stations. There are two post offices and over 2,500 post stations in the Netherlands and 621 post offices and around 1,700 post stations in Portugal.
 
According to Vuks, post stations are a rising trend in Estonia too, becoming part of people’s everyday lives. “We’ve worked hard to make life easier and more comfortable both for our employees who provide services at our post stations and for our customers visiting the post stations,” Vuks explained. 
 
Piret Metsoja, the manager of the A&O shop in Leevaku and the so-called veteran post station situated in it, corroborates this claim. “Initially, there was a lot of paperwork indeed, but our work has become easier over time. All payment services, for example, are today handled by our own shop’s cash register system without involving any paper. Life is more comfortable and visits to the shop faster for our customers as well,” Metsoja explained. According to her, people's consumption patterns have also changed over the years.  “People used to have a greater interest in payment services in particular, now people come to pick up their parcels increasingly more often as well,” Metsoja expained. 
 
A cooperation partner trained by Eesti Post is on the spot to help our customers receive their services no matter the location of the post station – be it in the local library or grocery shop. Payments are also performed like in post offices. In Võru County, for example, it’s possible to use four different payment methods to pay for postal services in all 12 post stations:  in addition to cash and card payments, the Säästukaart and even the Säästukaart Pluss cards can be used for payments.
 
A post station is a postal establishment managed by a cooperation partner of Eesti Post that provides postal services on behalf of Eesti Post. In essence, a post station is a postal establishment that is comparable to post offices. All the same services that a post office provides are available in a post station. Currently, there are 163 post offices and 159 post stations in Estonia. Slowly but steadily, these numbers are changing in favour of post stations.

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