Pitney Bowes CEO Cautious on Next Steps for Volly

Matt Swain
May 3, 2013

Pitney Bowes held a Financial Analyst Day in New York City today. While technology analysts were not invited to be there in person, I followed the live stream online. I was surprised when I first scanned the presentation slides and saw no mention of Volly. This was a significant departure from recent years and reflects the entry of a new CEO. Marc Lautenbach appears as though he is not going to put Volly on the same pedestal that former CEO Murray Martin did.

That said, Lautenbach addressed Volly toward the end of his opening remarks.

“Volly is one of our important growth opportunities, but it’s just one. Our work with Australia Post continues to go well, but as we think about Volly going forward it is going to have to compete for capital with other very compelling opportunities… [W]e would very much like to introduce Volly into the U.S. market this year, but only if we have a business model that makes sense. And it may not be the business model that we originally conceptualized. It may be with a partner. It may be a consortium. But the point is, like everything else we are doing, we are [being] very disciplined and focused about putting our capital to work in a way that drives real returns.”

This is clearly a shift in strategic thinking about how to move forward with Volly, its brand, and how easily it will access capital.

The digital mailbox services channel faces two major hurdles:

  1. Building a critical mass of relevant mail for users
  2. Increasing consumer awareness to (and demand for) the channel

This customer communication channel and others will be covered in more depth in a comprehensive study entitled The Future of Multi-channel Transactional Communications that we are publishing at the end of the month. I shared some teaser data from this study at Xplor, PostalVision 2020, and DOCUMENT Strategy Forum over the last three weeks. Our research shows that over 60% of the 2,025 consumers we surveyed in the U.S. were interested in using a digital mailbox service after receiving an overview of the channel. About 20% of the 267 business respondents we surveyed plan to have digital mailbox service partnerships established within the year, with the majority citing “customers are not asking for it” as the primary reason why they are not enabling it.

While services like Digital Postal Mail, doxo, and Manilla continue to make progress in building a vocal user base to drive new mailer partnerships in the U.S., it looks like Volly will continue to be on the sidelines for the near future.

 

Matt Swain
Associate Director, Document Outsourcing
@SwainfoTrends

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 soon-to-be-published study entitled The Future of Multi-channel Transactional Communications.

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