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Uniting the Inbox and Mailbox

Part of the webinar blog series "Postal Changes and Print Trends to Watch."

Uniting the Inbox and Mailbox

Based on the 5 Print Trends to Watch, organizations are in a position to create a more strategic alignment between their print and digital communications. Here are a few ways to unite the inbox with the mailbox for a better customer experience.

Informed Delivery: 12M Consumers and Growing

One of the ways the USPS is going “phygital” – combining print with digital – is with their Informed Delivery service. After a consumer signs up for Informed Delivery, they receive an email with a digital image of what's being delivered to their mailbox. The service provides companies with the ability to do an image replacement; instead of showing a low-resolution, black-and-white image of what's coming in the mail, they can incorporate color and graphics. Plus, the image replacement is located at the top of the email, giving companies a way to get their marketing message front and center. When Informed Delivery launched in 2017, 75 percent of overall consumers were interested in the service with 88 percent of millennials indicating their interest. This demonstrates consumers’ desire for an integrated, omni-channel experience. Today, approximately 12 million consumers are currently using Informed Delivery, with 2 million of those users joining in July and August 2018 alone. 

Augmented Reality (AR) Bridges the Gap

No longer thought of as a sci-fi experience, we’re seeing AR in various applications (e.g., printed catalogs that come to life by using a mobile app). AR capabilities are now widely embedded into the hardware and software of mobile phones, reducing what was once a barrier. We’re also seeing AR used on the outside of envelopes. This not only drives customer engagement, but it also qualifies the organization for an upfront 2 percent USPS postage promotion discount that will be back in effect for 2019.

“Go Paperless” Strategies

As noted above, many organizations are redesigning their print communications in order for them to complement their digital counterparts and grow adoption. We’re seeing many “go paperless” strategies on print communications: messaging on the inside and outside of envelopes; QR codes linking directly to an enrollment page; video being used to introduce a new bill design and paperless messaging. We’re also seeing the use of negative consents, which requires consumers to opt-in for paper (e.g., "Your bill is going paperless; you need to opt-in to continue to receive paper by this date.”) More consumers are getting comfortable with this approach as long as they are provided with a strong digital experience. I share more on negative consents in my recent article, AT&T’s Game-Changing Paperless Approach. While shifting to a negative consent is likely to impact First-Class Mail volumes, it also gives companies a way to differentiate themselves with the materials they do mail (i.e., fewer competing messages in the mailbox vs. inbox).

Looking to the Future

In 2025, what will a bill or statement look like? A strictly digital experience? How do we enhance and optimize the print experience? I’m launching a new podcast series “Reimagining Communications” where industry experts and passionate practitioners will discuss what’s next in communications. 

Find out more about how uniting print and digital channels can inspire your communications and CX strategies by viewing our on-demand webinar.