New Zealand Post brings back stamp machines in Auckland trial
New Zealand Post is re-introducing stamp vending machines in a new pilot programme it hope will improve customer service. Stamp machines are being deployed around Auckland as part of a wider trial of self-service postal retail technology.
Machines have been installed in PostShop stores and within major shopping malls around New Zealand’s largest city.
Local firm Festival Payments has produced the machines, which will offer a variety of different stamps covering requirements for domestic and international mail.
“It’s all about convenience, and anyone who’s tried these new machines can attest to how convenient and easy to use they are,” said Mark Stewart, head of store network operations for New Zealand Post.
“If all you want is to buy some stamps, then, with these new machines, you can do that in a flash and be on your way.”
Some of the world’s very first stamp vending machines were invented by New Zealander Robert James Dickie, a London-born immigrant who won a Gold Medal and a Grand Prize at the World’s Fair in Seattle for his ingenuity.
However, while they were a big hit at the time, they were phased out by the 1960s, partly since it was difficult for them to cope with postal rate increases.
The new generation of stamp vending machines operate without cash, with payment by credit or debit cards.
“Our inspiration is the same thing that moved Robert Dickie to invent the first machine all those years ago – the acknowledgement that a machine is a simple and quick way to buy stamps,” said Stewart, who added that the trial aimed to see if the public would make use of the technology again.
New Zealand Post has been making a $40m annual loss on its 304-branch retail network, and as a result has been looking for ways to trim costs while maintaining or improving customer service.
Post&Parcel reported earlier this year on plans to roll out automated kiosks as part of its response.
The stamp vending machines are also part of the “Better Change Project”, seeking to transform the postal business in New Zealand.
“New Zealand Post is looking at ways to use technology like self service kiosks for paying bills and for sending parcels to make services easier and more convenient, for our customers,” explained the Post’s Head of Store Network Operations, adding: “Stamp machines may well fit in with that approach.”