The Future of Mail is in the Delivery

August 27, 2019
Some may consider post mail and package delivery to be “old school,” but we know better. Tracking our rideshare vehicle, pinpointing our phone with geolocation services, and knowing when our pizza is heading out for delivery (and who made it) are among today’s norms. And when it comes to our need to know what and where things are, the mailing industry is not going to be left behind. Now we have informed delivery, pick-your-own-delivery, and – not very far off – maybe even drone delivery.

Digital Commerce reports that e-commerce represented 14.3% of total retail sales in 2018, and Amazon® accounts for 40% of U.S. online retail. To help keep the engine of online shopping going, it’s critical that our packages and mail arrive on time and as conveniently as possible.

Industry players are leveraging and adapting business practices to meet the information demands of their customers. For example, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has taken pictures of the front of letter-sized mail for some time now to run their automated mail sorting equipment, which improves speed and accuracy in managing the delivery chain from the right distribution centers, to trucks, to the mail carrier and, eventually, to you. (According to the last issue of PaperPulse®, this is a prime example of AI in action.) Since 2017, USPS has leveraged that already existing process to include digital notifications to users when they have physical mail on the way.

The consensus is out on whether knowing your bills are waiting for you is good or bad… but, it’s hard to argue against the cool factor of seeing your mail before you get home.

While not available to everyone yet (sorry, apartment dwellers), those who are eligible can now opt-in to get an email or text alert with pictures of all the mail expected for the day.

Even if you don’t have the option to see your mail, all major mail and package delivery services now offer redelivery, which allows you to pick a time and day that’s most convenient for you, and avoid the dreaded “Sorry we missed you” sticky note. Some are free while others charge a fee, but all require you to have an account and provide some basic assurances to reduce your risk of mail theft or fraud. From your account, you can manage your preferences, divert packages to different addresses, and schedule around your life.

It’s worth noting that Amazon, which generally ships via the Big 3 (FedEx®, USPS, and UPS®), is experimenting with drone delivery – skipping the truck, and heading to the skies. This service is still pending patents and logistics, but it may be coming to your doorstep sooner than you’d think.

Convenience for the customer is key to all of this. Knowing what is coming in the mail, and being able to track, divert, and redeliver at the click of a button makes customers’ lives easier, which is especially crucial since we now live in the age of online retail.

Amazon is experimenting with drone delivery – skipping the truck, and heading to the skies. This service is still pending patents and logistics, but it may be coming to your doorstep sooner than you’d think.

Sources: “Redelivery,” USPS; “Informed Delivery – The Basics,” USPS; “Top 5 Popular Courier Service in USA,” ExtraShip; “The Post Office Will Now Email You Photos of Your Mail Before it’s Delivered,” TechCrunch; “FedEx Delivery Manager,” FedEx; “Answering Door Tag Questions,” FedEx; “Receiving My Packages,” UPS; “Where Are the Drones? Amazon’s Customers Are Still Waiting,” AP News; “Amazon and UPS Are Betting Big on Drone Delivery,” Business Insider; “How it Works: Amazon Delivery Drones,” Lifewire; “U.S. Ecommerce Sales Grow 15.0% in 2018,” Internet Retailer; “The Age of Online Shopping Could Mark the Beginning of ‘Retail Apocalypse,’” Tucson Weekly; “E-commerce in the United States – Statistics & Facts,” Statista; “USPS to Launch Informed Delivery Nationwide,” MediaPost.

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