Letters sent via Post can now be conveniently posted online. Today, an increasing number of digital tools – like email, Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat and others – makes it easier than ever to communicate with other people. At the same time, this increasing variety of communication channels makes it more difficult to ensure that messages will actually capture the recipient’s attention. This is why, even in today’s digital world, the “ancient” postal letter remains an important communication channel. Receiving written information on a physical piece of paper creates more attention and a longer-lasting impact compared to the same information presented in digital form.
But sending letters by “snail mail” is tedious. Not only do you need to have a printer, paper, envelopes and stamps, but you must also hand the letter over to post office.
Emergence of Hybrid Mail
To tackle this, postal organisations and private companies in the output management space developed so-called “Hybrid Mail” solutions that make sending mail a more efficient and pleasant experience again. Hybrid mail is usually web-based services for submitting postal letters so that customers no longer need to worry about managing print consumables or queuing at the post office. Instead, sending important documents as a postal letter becomes as easy as sending an email.
In the recent years, hybrid mail solutions started to become an interesting trend with many post organisations developing or considering their own solutions. It is expected, that in 2016 hybrid mail could become a major trend in the industry, especially in emerging markets.
Hybrid mail solutions usually offer the customers to either write the letter directly online or to submit existing documents via the web, SFTP, APIs, or printer drivers. Some solutions also offer direct integration with CRM tools or to cloud drives like Dropbox, Google Drive or One Drive.
International Hybrid Mail
Services like Pingen.in take the hybrid mail approach even one step further and not only offer such a service for domestic mail but also for international mail. So let’s take an example of a letter that needs to be sent to a recipient in Germany:
- Traditionally you would print the letter in India, pay the Postage charges between INR 900-1200 to deliver the letter and then wait 7-10 or more days until it arrives at the recipient.
- With Pingen.in you can post the letter online. The letter will then be printed directly in Germany and will arrive at the recipient within 1-2days. This not only helps to drastically reduce CO2 emissions as the letter will only be transported within Germany compared to being shipped from India to Germany but it also saves you a lot of money. Instead of paying high Postage for the international delivery you only pay postage for the local delivery within Germany. So your letter not only arrives much faster but also your postage costs come down from INR 1200 to just INR 85. Yes, about 10x faster delivery at less than 10% of the previous costs.
How does this work you may ask yourself? It’s quite simple. Pingen partners with professional print facilities and postal organisations around the world. Additionally by consolidating the volumes of 1’000s of customers, Pingen (respectively its customers) gets wholesale prices from the partners and suppliers.
Letters are still an important product in the postal world
As per IPC (International Postal Corporation) 2015, the total revenue of Postal industry was Euros 436.6bn having mail share of 44.8% of revenue. Though mail volumes have dipped by about 4% but the mail revenue has still increased by 1.5% over the last year. With internet usage growing and companies as well as public authorities shifting to digital alternatives, mail volume remains in a down-trading trend. Online delivery of traditional transactional mail, either through hybrid mail or offering an online alternative, offers operators a long-term opportunity for recovering mail volumes lost through e-substitution.
With the increased competition from electronic solutions, it becomes more important to provide flexible solutions with high automation to maintain business customers. This is why hybrid mail is not only a very interesting way for the customers to achieve a longer lasting impact for their important communication but it’s also an important tool for postal operators to transition into the digital age.