The US Postal Service rate change scheduled for January 22, 2017 is good news for transactional document mailers. Commercial rates for presorted First Class Letters are decreasing a bit, and the USPS has eliminated a sortation level, simplifying mail preparation and documentation.
A big change that could impact mailers of First Class Letter size mail is an extension of the “2nd ounce free” program to all Commercial First Class Presort Letters weighing up to 3.5 ounces. Once the new rates are in effect, mailers can add more weight to their documents without paying extra postage.
Consumers are gradually converting to digital delivery, but a good number of them are unwilling to abandon printed versions of transactional documents just yet. In most industries, three quarters of an organization’s customers still prefer their bills and statements to be delivered on paper. Issuers of those transactional materials would like to see a faster migration to paperless distribution, but they are also focused on improving customer experiences. These two objectives often conflict.
Adding value to the documents is one way to make the expense of paper delivery more palatable to billers and other transactional document mailers. So is reducing the cost to communicate via mail. The good news is that the revised USPS rates offer mailers opportunities to do both.
• Companies can include more pre-printed inserts that would otherwise create overweight mail.
• Marketers can add heavy items such as plastic cards, keys, coins, or magnets to improve conversion rates for promotional campaigns.
• Companies can increase editorial or advertising content with no escalation in postage cost.
• Organizations may add white space or use larger fonts on documents, improving the visual appeal and boosting comprehension.
• Mailers can eliminate expensive mass mailings by inserting materials such as privacy policies or account agreement updates along with monthly bills or statements.
• Companies migrating to inkjet may convert to heavier coated paper stock without suffering a postage increase due to extra weight.
• For some applications, householding strategies will generate significant savings vs. mailing multiple envelopes to the same customers on the same day. The increased weight limit makes it possible to household a greater variety of documents with no postage penalty.
Mailers can also take advantage of the opportunities provided by the new postage rates by adding variable content like charts, graphs, or personalized maps to their documents. Adding extra pages to present these graphic elements will no longer trigger extra postage fees.
In-plant and outsource print and mail service providers can accomplish many of these strategies by mining data already present in transactional documents, reformatting print streams, re-sequencing pages, or altering finishing equipment barcodes. Document re-engineering software can operate directly on the print files. It is unnecessary to change program code to improve documents or lower the cost to produce them. The incentive to do so is especially attractive when mailers can deliver more content without raising their postage costs.
We’ll be discussing this topic at our February 16 webinar – Save Money and Get More from the U.S. Postal Service, so register here to learn more.