USPS’s Mobile Shopping Promotion Still Available for 2020

The USPS has confirmed that despite the current pandemic, all discount programs are still in place, including the 2020 Mobile Shopping Promotion. This program encourages mailers to integrate mobile technology with direct mail to create a convenient way for consumers to online shop, as well as earn a postage discount.

The USPS has confirmed that despite the current pandemic, all discount programs are still in place, including the 2020 Mobile Shopping Promotion. This program encourages mailers to integrate mobile technology with direct mail to create a convenient way for consumers to do their online shopping; provides a 2% postage discount for standard and nonprofit letters and flats; and runs from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020.

The registration period runs from June 15 through Dec. 31, 2020, giving marketers some time to consider the program and how they can benefit from the popularity of mobile shopping to boost response rates. So how can you take advantage of this discount? Qualifying mobile print technologies include one of the following:

  • Open-sourced barcodes: QR Code or Data Matrix code. “QR” stands for “Quick Response”, which refers to the instant access to the information hidden in the barcode. A Data Matrix barcode code can store up to 2,335 alphanumeric characters.
  • Proprietary barcode or tag: SnapTags or MS Tags. SnapTag technology is very similar to QR code technology, but, consumers with any camera or smart phone can take a picture of the tag. From there, information is sent via text or email. Microsoft Tag allows data to be stored in a graphical bitmap using shapes and colors. The difference is not using square pixels, but triangle shapes and colors to store data.
  • Image embedded with a digital watermark: A digital watermark is a kind of marker covertly embedded in a noise-tolerant signal such as audio, video or image data.
  • Intelligent print image recognition such as augmented reality: Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, including visual, auditory, and more.
  • Shoppabble Video: Today’s technology enables you to set interactive touch points in any video (or image), allowing your audience to expand on any product with more details and the ability to purchase.

You can use one on these options on your mail piece to send prospects and customers to a page where they can purchase the product or service you’re marketing on your mail piece. This particular promotion has been around for a while now and is very popular with both marketers and customers, especially because it extends through the whole holiday season.

New for this year is the Shoppable Video option. The experience involves viewing a video on a mobile device which contains clickable spots on the video where customers can make a purchase.

The easier you make it for your customers to buy, the more and faster they do so. Because of promotions like this from the USPS, marketers can capture impulse buys with direct mail. The Mobile Shopping Promotion also shows how the buying experience does not have to be boring. You can add elements to spice up your landing page and still be able to make transactions like the promotion rules call for. Think of all the fun and creative ways you can integrate mobile technology, while benefiting from a savings of 2% on your postage! It is a good time to try something new.

This is not the only promotion the USPS is offering this year. If interested, check out my previous coverage of two other promotion programs that are currently running, but with registration still open:

Are you ready to get started?

 

6 Ways to Use the 2019 USPS Promotions to Your Advantage

USPS promotions are back for 2019. Do you have a planned marketing strategy to not only save money on postage, but really stand out? There are a variety of programs to choose from, so you should be able to find at least one that is a good fit for you.

USPS promotions are back for 2019. Do you have a planned marketing strategy to not only save money on postage, but really stand out? There are a variety of programs to choose from, so you should be able to find at least one that is a good fit for you.

If you are planning mailings in 2019, why not participate in a promotion and save money on postage?

Let’s take an in-depth look at each program:

6 Direct Mail Postage-Saving Promotions

  1. Tactile, Sensory and Interactive Promotion — This program runs from Feb.1 to July 31. Use this program to highlight special finishing technologies that engage the senses. Some ideas are special visual effects, sound, scent, texture/tactile coatings and even taste. In addition, you can create interactive mail pieces, such as pop-ups, infinite folds or other dimensional aspects. This is a really fun one that can only be done with print marketing.
  2. 2019 Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion — This program runs from March 1 to Aug. 31. Use this program to engage customers and prospects by use of mobile technology in direct mail. This can be done with QR Codes, augmented reality, NFC, video and more. This is a very powerful way to create a longer connection and increase the effectiveness of your message.
  3. 2019 Earned Value Promotion — This program runs from April 1 to June 30. This will have a more limited application, because it is only for companies that use reply mail. If you use reply mail, use this program to save postage on each piece of business reply mail and courtesy reply mail you get sent to you.
  4. 2019 Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion — This program runs from July 1 to Dec. 31. Use this program to add color marketing messaging on your bills and statements. Turn transactional mail into promotional pieces, also.
  5. 2019 Mobile Shopping Promotion — This program runs from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31. Use this program if you are selling products during the holiday shopping season. By adding mobile technology to your mail that allows your customers or prospects to make a purchase or pursue other online shopping experiences, you can qualify to save on postage.
  6. 2019 Informed Delivery Promotion — This program runs from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30. Use this program of Informed Delivery, which will send an email to people with a color picture of your mail piece to let them know what is coming in their mail box that day. You can even provide a clickable link so that people can start purchasing right then.

Each of these promotions provides a 2% postage discount at the time of mailing, except for the earned value — which provides 3 cents, per piece returned. You can participate in as many of the promotions as you would like. Each promotion requires registration to participate and reporting after the mailing is complete, but they are worth the savings. Are you ready to get started?

Millennial Habits on Black Friday 2015 vs. 2017

New research from Influenster shows how Millennial Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping habits have changed. And while it’s certainly not great news for in-store retail, it’s not as big a shift as you might expect.

No shopping holiday is more old-school than the retail war zone that is Black Friday. I can remember people camping out the night before for Black Friday deals all the way back to when I was a kid — South Park even did an episode on it! Surely, if there’s one shopping experience tech-savvy, retail-resistant Millennials are going to opt-out of over time, it’s Black Friday, right?

New research from Influenster shows how Millennial Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping habits have changed. And while it’s certainly not great news for in-store retail, it’s not as big a shift as you might expect.

Black Friday for Millennials: 2015 vs. 2017

The research, “Influenster Black Friday and Cyber Monday Millennial Shopping Survey 2015 vs. 2017,” shows a few interesting trends comparing this year’s results to results from two years ago.

For starters, slightly fewer millennials intend to participate in he combined shopping holiday of Black Friday and Cyber Monday: 89 percent vs. 93 percent in 2015.

Out of them, more still intend to shop on Black Friday than Cyber Monday, but the gap is narrowing:

Do you shop more on Black Friday
or Cyber Monday?
2015 2017
More on Black Friday 35% 32%
More on Cyber Monday 26% 30%
Equal on both days 39% 38%

However, far fewer millennials plan to shop in-store on Black Friday: 35 percent in 2017 vs. 61 percent in 2015. And 92 percent of all respondents plan to look for deals online before heading to the stores.

The survey respondents said their overall shopping plans look like this:

How do you plan on shopping this Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday? 2015 2017
Online for Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday 67% 61%
Browsing in stores, before buying online for Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday 44% 29%
In stores for Black Friday 61% 35%
Research online, before buying in stores on Black Friday 48% 40%

On the bright side for retailers, fewer millennials plan on “showrooming,” i.e. shopping on the phone for better deals while looking at the product in-store: 29 percent in 2017 vs. 44 percent in 2015. After all, why go to a store on Black Friday only to find the store you should’ve gone to online? By then, it’s probably already too late to get that doorbuster deal.

When it comes to what wins the sale, online reviews still appear to be the most powerful influencer (although, here it’s worth noting that Influenster is a company that powers online reviews). However, word of mouth has slipped slightly compared to social media:

What factors would most influence your purchase decision this Black Friday/Cyber Monday? 2015 2017
Word of mouth 53% 47%
Online reviews 72% 70%
Social media 58% 61%
Brand websites 47% 39%
News websites 12% 6%
Television 28% 15%
Newspaper 23% 9%
Magazines 24% 10%
Mail catalogues 24% 14%

Computer vs. Mobile, Website vs. App

Out of those who will shop online, there are some interesting changes in where and how. More plan to shop via mobile:

If you plan on online shopping on Black Friday and/or Cyber Mondays how would you do so? 2015 2017
On my desktop/laptop 83% 70%
On my mobile device/tablet 58% 62%

But when it comes to how they’ll prefer to order on mobile, all of the options came in lower than 2015.

If you plan on shopping on your mobile device/tablet, how would you make your purchases? 2015 2017
Through websites 95% 90%
Through apps 55% 50%
Through “buy” buttons on social media 10% 7%

It’s really time we improved that mobile ordering experience!

Holiday Favorites

And to wrap this up, when it comes to where millennials go and the brands they buy, some of the favorites appear to be shifting. Congrats to Target for holding off Amazon and Walmart to be the favorite Black Friday retailer.

Which are your favorite retailers to shop at on Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday? 2015 2017
Target 85% 71%
Amazon 70% 66%
Walmart 66% 54%
Best Buy 49% 29%
Kohl’s 47% 27%
Macy’s 41% 26%
TJ Maxx 33% 26%
JCPenney 35% 21%
Toys ‘R’ Us 36% 20%
Bed Bath and Beyond 39% 20%
Nordstrom 25% 19%
Marshalls 27% 18%
eBay 21% 10%
Dick’s Sporting Goods 17% 9%
Kmart 20% 8%
Sears 18% 7%
Home Depot 13% 7%
Neiman Marcus 8% 5%
Lord & Taylor 6% 3%

In the end, how Millennials shop may be changing, but the raw volume of commerce they’ll participate in this holiday is still staggering.

Top Holiday Season Digital Trends

The holiday season is nearly in full swing. How will it be different than past seasons? The most striking difference is not in what consumers are buying, it’s how they are shopping. Consumers have been gravitating toward digital over the past decade, but this year, shoppers have indicated that they will pass a new threshold.

The holiday season is nearly in full swing. How will it be different than past seasons? The most striking difference is not in what consumers are buying, it’s how they are shopping.

Consumers have been gravitating toward digital over the past decade, but this year, shoppers have indicated that they will pass a new threshold. For the first time, they anticipate making the majority (51 percent) of their holiday purchases online, according to a study by Synchrony Financial*. This has been steadily increasing over the past three years, up from 47 percent in 2015 and 49 percent last year.

Synchrony Holiday Season Shopping StatsWhich devices will they be using to make these purchases? Consumers indicate that one in five holiday purchases will be made on their mobile device. So, not only is shopping trending toward online purchases, many shoppers are planning to do it on-the-go.

Shoppers like mobile because, quite frankly, it’s easy and always around. The mobile device is with the shopper continuously. Whether riding on a bus, waiting in line for coffee or binge watching your favorite Netflix show. If you think of the perfect gift for Aunt Helen, you can order it immediately. And, not to worry about keeping track of your purchases — half of mobile shoppers say they use mobile because they can easily view the confirmation in their email.

And, discount hunting via mobile is ubiquitous. More than one-third (36 percent) of shoppers say they will shop via mobile during the holiday season because they can more easily link their email offers and coupons to their purchases. So, bargain hunters don’t have to worry about missing out on a good deal. The ability to scan available coupons and download offers gives shoppers confidence that they are getting the best price.

With the ease of shopping online and the widespread availability of next-day shipping, consumers may be less rushed to get their shopping done early this holiday season. Only 44 percent of consumers say they will be shopping earlier this year. Last year, 53 percent said they would be shopping earlier than in the past.

And, shoppers are less likely to be “hunting for a deal” on specific days like Thanksgiving, Black Friday or Cyber Monday. This is perhaps due to the prevalence of deal hunting throughout the season. Consumers have been less hooked on shopping on specific days, if they are certain they can find the best price on any given day.

How are retailers responding to these trends? One way is having websites that are optimized no matter which device consumers use — laptop, tablet or mobile. Retailers are spending time and resources building websites that are easy to navigate and intuitive. The experience is important — the top reason shoppers delete a retailer app is due to poor functionality, according to the Synchrony Financial 2017 Digital Study.

Also, shipping will be a big element of the online shopping experience this year. Many retailers have graduated from two- to three-day shipping to one-day, or next-day shipping. And, since shoppers say they will be shopping later in the season, this will be a big deal this year.

Finally, and perhaps most important, bargain hunting remains a key ingredient in the shopping habits of consumers, whether they are early bargain hunters or last minute deal seekers. The ability to check product reviews, compare prices and use coupons is a key part of the holiday shopping experience. If the consumer can do it all on one website, great! If not, off they go to the next retailer.

* Note: The views expressed in this blog are those of the blogger and not necessarily of Synchrony Financial. All references to consumers and population refer to the survey respondents from the Synchrony Financial 2017 Pre-Holiday Study unless otherwise noted.