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USPS "Informed Delivery" - Discussion

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  • USPS "Informed Delivery" - Discussion

    No doubt those of you in the States who are in the mailing business have heard of the new "Informed Delivery" initiative currently being rolled out by the USPS.

    For those of you who haven't, here's a brief synopsis:

    Basically, it is a free service available to all USPS residential customers (not businesses at this time) wherein you can get an email notification containing digital pictures of the address side of every letter-sized piece that will be in your mail box later in the day. Right now, it is limited to "letter-sized" pieces (no flats, catalogs, or packages), but, indications are that they may be adding those in the future.

    My thoughts:

    (1) Unless I've been waiting on the edge of my seat for a tax refund or something, I'm not sure what the usefulness of such a service would be.

    (2) I'm a little apprehensive about where this is going (where it will finally lead). Will the consumer eventually have the ability in the future to dissect and identify which pieces they want delivered, and instruct the USPS to simply trash those pieces they do not wish to receive? While this may be advantageous to the consumer, I can see where it may be devastating to direct mail advertisers. If so, it would likely result in lower volume advertising mail which would ultimately severely cripple the USPS themselves. For instance, when DVR's came out, consumers were able to record their shows and play them back later while skipping over the commercials. I wonder what effect that had on the television advertising industry. Did it result in less advertisers buying air time? Did it result in lowering the price of television commercials? Will Informed Delivery adversely affect the direct mail advertising industry? Am I just being paranoid?

    What are your thoughts?



  • #2
    There has been a rash of mail thefts lately in my area, San Francisco east bay, and it would be nice to be able to tell if, when you go to the mail box and its empty you could know if it was supposed to be . . . Trust me I'm all for print!!!!!
    "If you think you are too small to be effective
    you have never been in the dark with a mosquito."

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    • #3
      Originally posted by dabob View Post
      There has been a rash of mail thefts lately in my area, San Francisco east bay, and it would be nice to be able to tell if, when you go to the mail box and its empty you could know if it was supposed to be . . . Trust me I'm all for print!!!!!
      Interesting. I had not thought of that angle (anti-theft security)

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      • #4
        My thoughts and perspectives:

        1.) I live in a high rise apartment and the thought of not going to the mail room each day to retrieve a bunch of trash would be nice. I'd rather go a few times a week when there is actually something worth retrieving.

        2.) I don't see why the USPS would do this, what is the advantage to them? They don't make money (end of sentence) on taking my mom's $.49 a few times a year when she sends me a card. They make it off of you, the company who sends 10-20k in postage to the BMEU every day. Or Bank of America who I can't even fathom how much they spend in postage a year. How would they replace that revenue? I'm not saying it isn't possible but it would take a drastic change in the way the post office does business and they haven't even figured out how to replace the Grumman LLV yet.

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        • #5
          Here's a previous mention regarding this service:

          https://printplanet.com/forum/what-y...-mail-delivery

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          • #6
            I find it weird how you guys just get your packaged delivered like mail. In Australia, if its not a letter, It gets delivered to your door, they knock on your door or go to the office if a business. Give you your package and you must give them your name and sign for it.
            If you're not there, they try the next day for a few times then you'll get a call from them that you need to collect it from their office.
            If it's from Australia Post, (your USPS) they will leave a note and tells you where to collect it from (closest post office)

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            • #7
              It's mostly because the USPS here is terrible, and UPS and FedEx do what you're describing since the USPS does it so poorly.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by MailGuru View Post
                Will the consumer eventually have the ability in the future to dissect and identify which pieces they want delivered, and instruct the USPS to simply trash those pieces they do not wish to receive?
                The first time I read about this, that was my first thought. I think that is exactly where it is going to lead - customers will be able to select which mail they do not want delivered. And it's going to hurt a lot of industries. My second thought is, why would anyone want to add more crap to their inbox???? I get so much spam it's not even funny anymore. Beyond that actually. I don't even get mad anymore. It's just part of the morning routine like coffee and cigarettes. Oftentimes, I elect for physical mail (power company, internet company, and credit card companies, you are never going to email my bills to me) just to help keep my inbox less cluttered.

                Even if they do not allow you to not receive any "junk" mail, the fact that you see it before it arrives means you are less likely to pay attention to it reducing the effectiveness of direct mail.

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                • #9
                  I'm not a big fan of it either for the reasons mentioned above. How many people aren't even going to bother to go to their mailbox since they know what's there? It takes away some of the 'romance' of looking through the mail and seeing what was sent to you. I believe it has the potential to do as much harm as good.
                  One good reason for IV is if you have a PO box and you're a small business that doesn't get much mail. Instead of driving there, walking in, checking the PO box only to find there's nothing there and wasting how much of your time for nothing. The irony here is that IV is not available for PO boxes. I'm assuming it will be someday, but maybe they realize they don't want the PO box piling up with junk either.
                  Some day I will start a post about the further degrading of mailed statements and letters by the poor quality inkjet age we've entered, but that is for another day.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Keith View Post

                    Even if they do not allow you to not receive any "junk" mail, the fact that you see it before it arrives means you are less likely to pay attention to it reducing the effectiveness of direct mail.
                    I just had a thought (I know, I know, y'all stop laughing -- it does happen every once in a while):

                    From a creative, mail piece design standpoint, direct mail designers, who are on the top of their game, will need change their strategy to design pieces, so that, when the front picture is displayed in the email, it intrigues the recipient, or, generates a level of curiosity such that they are actually looking forward to receiving the actual piece. Could be some opportunities there.

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