Following the disclosure earlier this month that An Post had successfully tendered for a five year exclusive retail distribution contract for the LEAP transport offering, the Association was keen to ensure that the interests of those CSNA members currently selling LEAP products would be represented.
In truth, there are several aspects of the new arrangement that have yet to be finalised and as such, our meeting did not conclude with any specific take away other than a solid commitment from PostPoint to further engage in advance of any firm decisions.
At the moment a very basic (and frankly pretty useless) series of telephone contacts are being made to existing Payzone agents that are listed as LEAP retailers to ascertain whether they would continue to sell the product after the changeover
Given that the tele salesperson cannot provide any contractual information regarding deposits, terminals/ printers/ rolls, exclusivity, margins, or operational dates, it cannot be considered to be a particularly useful method of customer engagement, in our opinion.
When we met PostPoint a number of details were disclosed including an acceptance that the commercial needs of retailers as PostPoint customers were every bit as important as those of the end user of the products.
LEAP cards have a finite retail sales value; the physical offering will no doubt be rapidly subsumed into a model that will avoid any retailer interaction, as is the case of most modern rapid transport systems. The credit/ debit card contactless payment at the point of transit departure will be rolled out by the NTA and they won’t care one bit for the retailer or the distributor- that’s the reality.
In the meantime, whether it is for five years or more, it’s incumbent upon PostPoint/ An Post to ensure that any existing Payzone agent that wishes to continue to sell LEAP cards will not have unfair, uncompetitive or discriminatory barriers put up to discourage or dissuade the retailer from doing business with the new distributors.
As an association, we will continue to advocate for all of our members, but it must be pointed out that if the existing 1,000 Payzone LEAP sellers, the 920 Post Offices and the 1,600 PostPoint Agents all elected to sell the products, the cost would be astronomical, the return for all parties would be derisory and a publicly funded infrastructure would once more be mired in waste and overspend.