First class mail at the USPS is down. In fact down from 104 Billion pieces in 2001 to 73.5 Billion pieces last year and is projected to go down to 39 Billion pieces in 2020. As a result the post office is cutting half its mail processing facilities besides planning huge cuts in deliveries and post offices. There is just not enough volume of mail.The most poignant comment in all of this was from a TV news anchor who said that at least the holiday packages will get delivered on time this year as the cuts will happen from next year.Obviously all the ordering has been done on line and when the product is relatively in-expensive and you are not paying for speed the USPS delivers the product to you - faithfully and reliably. In the process a third party vendor for Amazon gets to make a sale.The USPS situation is once again a wake up call for every business - no matter what your business.
Consider that strangely, news stories about the decline of the USPS business rarely mentions Fedex or UPS its competitors in the package delivery business. It is the first class mail which is the culprit and clearly it is where the Internet has hit the USPS hard. People have got used to paying bills online and that alone cuts the first class mail volume hugely. And if you consider that people might not respond by letter to offers (that are opened) in the junk mail - USPS has a problem. Today, if you like an offer in the mail - you are always given a convenient web address to respond. Thus,cutting out the chance to send a letter.
Here are a few questions to ask for your business, whether you have a product or service:
- Can the customer order online? Are we giving her/him an easy opportunity to do so?
- Can we deliver our product digitally (think books,music,training, movies, gaming, entertainment)? Are we doing so?
- Can the customer pay online? Are we making it easy for the customer to do so?
- Are we keeping all our product related information easily accessible online? Think of a customer who has lost your appliance's manual and just Google's it. Do they find the manual information at a forum or at the official website of your organization?
- Are we able to converse with the customer online for service matters?
A hard look at your business should uncover gaps in all of these areas. Your business has changed both in the way you attract new customers and how you service them. Can you re-define your business mission for the digital world ?