Oct 30, 2012
With the continued business and consumer migration to digital communications, Australia Post is the latest post to offer a digital mail consolidation service. Using the Volly secure digital delivery service from Pitney Bowes as its technology platform, Australia Post has spent the last seven months integrating and customizing it to provide a user experience specifically tailored for the Australian market.
I recently had a great discussion with Australia Post Digital MailBox General Manager, Vicki Miller, and Head of Technology, Dmitri Shugaev. Miller explained that, in launching this service, â€œWe want to simplify processes for consumers. We want to help them manage their life more easily and we believe that the Post brand will deliver that to them.â€ Apparently Australian consumers are intrigued, as 40,000 of them registered their interest for Digital MailBox in the weeks after Australia Post announced the service earlier this year. Here are a few important points about the service:
- Announced partners include AMP, ANZ, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, the Department of Human Services (DHS), Link Market Services, National Australia Bank, Telstra, Westpac, and Yarra Valley Water, with others soon to be announced and currently going through the onboarding process.
- Providersâ€™ marketing departments will control their respective provider pages and the pages can be used how they choose.
- As with other digital mailbox services, this approach tends to make providers more comfortable with enabling the service and are much less likely to see it as a competitive platform to their own websites.
- Providers control whether or not they will mandate paper suppression for their paper-based consumers who are using the service.
- Consumers control their document archives, but Australia Post will hold onto communications for taxation purposes for seven years.
- For bill payment, Australia Post is using its own payment gateway to enable a native payment offering (credit card and debit).
One of the most important discussion points was that the service is intended to offer much more than electronic delivery of documents. Australia Post wants to be a facilitator across communication channels, including delivery, identity management, archive & storage, payments, and eCommerce.
In their view, all businesses need these capabilities and Australia Post wants to offer the whole package. According to Shugaev, â€œCustomers want to move more of their lives online and we want to give them that service with the backing of a trusted brand. There is a certain amount of comfort associated with seeing that we have a physical presence, as well.â€ Before taking on this initiative, Australia Post conducted research to validate their brand license in the digital space. As a result, Miller added, â€œWeâ€™re seen as being a neutral, trusted brand.â€
While Digital Post Australia was first to announce its service would be launching in Australia (using the Zumbox Software technology platform), Australia Post Digital MailBox is first to allow consumers to set up their digital mailbox. As I explained in a previous blog post on the topic, the Australian digital mailbox services market is going to be exciting to monitor due to the relatively small size of the country compared to the United States. The advantage is less fragmentation of the mail streamâ€“meaning these services should be able to reach critical mass of consumer mail sooner.
Time will tell how consumers react. The top priority in launching the service should be consumer experience, and that will mean getting enough providers on board for the service to be beneficial to consumers seeking to consolidate business communications into a single service. InfoTrendsâ€™ research shows that over 60% of consumersâ€™ bills and statements need to be available via a digital mailbox service for it to appeal to the masses.
Much like in other parts of the world, tech savvy consumers will embrace these servicesâ€“for the providers, the race to critical mass is on.
Associate Director, Document Outsourcing
Since completion of our landmark study, The Emergence of Digital Mailbox Services, InfoTrends continues to track, present on, and consult for the digital mailbox services market in addition to our broader tracking of the customer communications delivery and payment markets via studies like our recently-announced The Future of Multi-channel Transactional Communications.
More blogs from Matt Swain