March 3, 2017

Digital Mailbox Services: Is There Value in Adopting Early?

By Dave Hook

Have Digital Mailbox Services (DMS) been a point of discussion when evaluating the strategy of your company’s print and mail operations? We sense that the answer is yes, but that the discussion may have left you and your team with uncertainty and, perhaps, more questions than answers.

DMS is certainly becoming more important as mailers continue looking for ways to reduce costs. DMS also enter the discussions as mails find ways to deliver documents to their customers where they want them and in the format they want them in. As a result, these services are starting to stake their place.

Crawford Technologies has been heavily involved in changes in the print and mail industry for over 16 years. In 2011, we sponsored research by InfoTrends into the future of DMS in North America. Analyst firms like InfoTrends and Madison Advisors are placing a lot of focus on DMS because it represents a new channel for customers to receive important customer communications and opportunities for the print and mailing market to change. The big question is should you adopt now or later?

The follow-on question is what will the consumer experience be? First, we should look at the potential size of the DMS market. InfoTrends estimates that DMS will deliver “2 billion paperless transactional documents to U.S. consumers in 2015.” That number represents about 19% of all paperless delivery provided to consumers in the United States. Focusing in on the High Volume Transactional Output (HVTO) market, it represents 7% of all transactional documents and potentially $323 million in associated fees.

At Crawford Technologies, we believe the time is now to implement Digital Mailbox Services. There is still a barrier for most print service providers and large corporations. As was seen recently with the alignment of Western National Insurance and Zumbox, companies currently pick a camp and stick with it, which right now means that you have to choose from the four current major DMS providers; Zumbox, doxo, Manilla and Volly.

For mailers this provides a challenge because you want to make sure you are able to reach as many customers as possible. As more customers sign up with specific DMS providers, the production and postal cost savings increase. But how do you choose and still deliver the best customer experience possible?

What if there was a way to allow your customers to sign up for any service that suites them best and still get your important transactional communications delivered to them without being locked into one DMS provider?

Crawford Technologies is leading the way by offering this ability through our new offering - PRO Channel Manager

By aggregating and managing customer document delivery preferences for all DMS services, CrawfordTech takes the need to choose a DMS provider out of the equation. The benefit is that you don’t have to wait to see who the market leader will be or choose a provider that might disappoint your customers due to a lack of mailer sign-ups; two major issues that exist with previous electronic bill presentment and payment methods. The added benefit to both DMS providers and the print and mailing industry is the removal of market barriers, which in turn will allow adoption rates to increase. An increase in adoption means the estimated 2 billion documents to be delivered in 2015 could actually be much higher thanks to CrawfordTech's innovative solution.

The cost savings that will be seen by increased adoption aren’t the only benefits of Digital Mailbox Services. Other advantages include:

  • Up to a 75% savings over traditional mail
  • Online branding and marketing opportunities can be maximized
  • Cash flow improvements from online payments with reminders
  • Easy to implement (especially with PRO Channel Manager as a part of the solution)
  • Robust security protocols
  • A 'greener' paperless solution
  • Users meet their needs for a free single-logon service that provides all their business mail needs that includes long-term archive and back-up capabilities

As the print and mail industry looks at the future, it is clear that DMS is going to have its place in the market. With significant cost savings and features that will attract consumers, the time is now to offer Digital Mailbox Services to your customers. With conventional in-house e-presentment applications topping out at a 7-10% adoption rate and the outlook for DMS being another 7% by 2015, this is a future trend you cannot afford to be last to implement, giving your competitors first shot at all the benefits.