E-commerce customers request visibility when purchasing online, particularly when the parcel or packet will be shipped internationally. The change in VAT regulation has made this demand from the customers stronger. Therefore, postal operators should be able to offer an efficient and reliable tracking solution for all cross-border e-commerce items, including for the untracked packets which currently do not have any tracking information available. IPC has developed a cost-efficient solution for the untracked items, allowing postal operators to respond to this demand for visibility on the postal operations. Because many postal operators have invested in passive RFID hardware in their international facilities, it is easy to link up to the existing IPC RFID Item Tracking services. With little to no additional investment, postal operators can offer RFID-based tracking information to e-sellers and their customers for e-commerce items. This could be either for untracked items for which there is currently no tracking information or for tracked items where the RFID information can be used to complement the traditional tracking barcode events.

How does it work?

A passive RFID tag is initiated by the e-retailer staff and the first event is recorded in IPC’s central RFID database. Once a tag has been initiated, it is attached to an e-commerce packet by the e-retailer. Then, the e-commerce packet with a
passive RFID tag travels through the postal pipeline following its usual operational flow. Passive RFID gates at key locations within the postal facilities for this flow generate reads which are translated into events and data to add value to postal operators, e-retailers and/or customers by using into postal operations.

IPC supports postal operators with commercial products based on RFID Item Tracking, as well as several other postal operators participating in the RFID network and/or considering a roll-out of this service commercially. Participating postal operators can offer RFID tracking solutions to e-retailers.



Reliable and accessible data

All data is stored in IPC’s Central Data Store and is available to all service users. Postal operator experts and (if enabled by the postal operator) customers and e-seller staff can consult the relevant RFID events; they can connect to the RFID tracking information via an online interface where they can see the last location of the item, its trajectory and its current status in the postal operational flow.

Services offered to posts

Customer support

• Dedicated IT tools and applications for posts with commercial products
• Specific support and assistance to posts considering introducing commercial products
• Design and set-up of pilots for new flows

RFID Network Improvement:

Red Flow investigation: monthly follow-up on all flows with RFID read rate below 95%, including the follow-up of the action plans
Network Monitoring Performance programme: RFID read rates of live items and flows through the RFID infrastructure are monitored


• RFID Vision: online analytical and reporting tool
• Monthly reporting: an overview of all RFID events by postal operators as well as breakdown per outbound and inbound post to improve RFID read rate levels on specific flows
• RFID Item Tracking User Group: posts participating in the service meet at least four times per year to discuss specific topics of interest related to the service, for a follow-up on RFID item tracking service status and updates

For posts interested to join, IPC runs a special programme for newcomers that enables posts to fully use the service in less than six months.


The IPC RFID Item Tracking Service bring benefits for posts and their customers (e-retailers):

• Tracking information is available (to e-sellers and posts) for packets without the use of a barcode via the RFID technology;
• Posts can offer a low-cost tracking solution to their customers.
• Barcode scanning can be completed or even replaced where possible for e-commerce items.
• Continuous support before, during and after roll-out of low-cost RFID tracking solution, thereby making the process easier
• Easy access to tracking data.
• RFID information is available to the customer service teams of postal operators and to e-retailers so that a better and completeservice can be given to consumers.
• Online reporting of the service performance that allows posts to monitor performance of the complete RFID infrastructure

More information

For more information on the RFID Item Tracking Service, please contact the IPC RFID Tracking team at [email protected]