It is looking more and more likely that in 2012 the United States Postal Service (USPS) will be eliminating mail delivery on Saturday. This move is thought to impact businesses on a nationwide scale on the B2C level. The question is, does reaching consumers through any print medium during the week versus strictly on the weekend increase business?
In the past, companies depended on weekend newspaper circulars to announce sales, provide coupons or release information on new products. With the newspaper industry on the decline and those circulars dwindling thanks to the Internet, the marketing strategies are changing. You can now log onto a company’s website and digitally flip the pages of that weeks circular. You can even choose items and make a digital shopping list for the grocery store.
The fact is, with the increased use of technology and the current state of the economy, impulse purchases are on the decline. Just because someone wants a new television, doesn’t mean they are going to run out to their local big box store to buy it that day. Instead, people are doing their research and have no problem waiting a few days for it to arrive on their doorstep from an online company to save money.
The best way to get information from a business to a consumer is to hit them right in their homes. The two mediums that always make it into homes are TV and the mail. While TV ads are often too expensive for small businesses, direct mail has proven to be the cost effective way to reach the kitchen table. A large postcard can provide information on a sale, coupons, or announce the latest product release while still being compact enough to be hung on the refrigerator.
In the coming year, the USPS will be perfecting a system they currently have in place called Intelligent Mail Barcodes. These are special barcodes that contain extra information which are scanned by the Post Offices as they move through the facilities. The scans send information back to the end user with information on delivery of the mail piece. The major shipping companies have perfected this process, but we’ll need to wait a year or two for the USPS to catch up. Once they do, however, the option of following up instantly via e-mail upon delivery will undoubtedly ease any qualms about losing a delivery day.
Technology will ease this transition but it is important to not rely on it to reach consumers. E-mails and websites are helping companies grow their businesses but they only work in conjunction with mailing and advertising. The best thing that companies can do now, in preparation for the end of Saturday delivery, is to plan ahead with their marketing plan and to become extremely organized with sale dates, product launches and special offers.
Eliminating Saturday delivery won’t hurt business, it’s simply going to change the way companies market their business. Long-term, that could translate into a more efficient and economical marketing plan.