Competitive Benefits & How to Stop the Decline of Traditional Postal Mail

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lI.IntroductionWith the technology being developed rapidly, electronic forms of communication are taking the market share from the post faster than ever. Market researchers have foreseen the decline in the usage of post. However, it is also said that electronic media can never fully replace the post. This section will discuss about how to arrest the decline of the post market as well as its competitive benefits and the impact of electronic media on the market.

II.How to arrest the decline in usage of the postFirstly, the best way to arrest the decline is to educate the consumers about the benefits of the post. We should focus on the benefits that only postal services can bring. They are:-Post can satisfy psychological needs. The receivers always feel the warmth when getting letters or cards from their friends and relatives by post than by electronic means. With post, the sender can personalize the message.

It shows both verbal and non-verbal codes together with the message with the help of colours, envelopes, stamps, perfume, etc. The memories last longer to the receiver. It helps maintain the relationships between the sender and the receiver hence fulfilling emotional satisfaction.

-Only the post can send original copies. The safety and confidentiality of the documents are assured.

-The post is now faster than ever. Courier service offers same day door-to-door with guaranteed delivery.

-Only post gives the physical feeling. According to Small Business Labs' survey on attitude towards traditional mail and email, 73% of respondents prefer to receive new product materials and offers by mail. It shows that most of the customers still prefer the physical feeling of materials to reading them online.

(http://genylabs.typepad.com/small_biz_labs/2007/06/survey-on-tradi.html)-Unlike electronic media, the delivery of post can be guaranteed even in the poorest condition such as no power, storm, flooding, rural areas, etc.

-Post is cheaper compared to fax or telephone.

-Post is now very convenient. Customers can have their mail picked up and delivered without the need of going out of home or office. The labels and stamps can be printed online. Customers can track the delivery online, etc. It is almost hassle-free.

-For organizations, by using premium postal services, it can somehow show the status of the company. It can influence the recipient in a positive way.

There are numerous benefits the post can bring, it is important that the consumers learn about those benefits. Moreover, many people still remain more comfortable with paper. They think that paper records are more reliable and trustworthy. For instance, a lot of them do not like to receive electronic statements or bills because they cannot be kept in a drawer and cannot be accessed without computer and internet. In conclusion, it is still possible to arrest the decline in post usage by trying to promote the benefits and the services of post.

III.Competitive benefits of the post and how to promote thema.Competitive benefits-Post is available everywhere. The coverage of post is much higher than fax, telephone or email because of the technological barriers of electronic media.

-It ensures the safety, security and confidentiality of the mail.

-The delivery can be guaranteed.

-It is available in any condition such as storm, flooding, no power, etc.

-It delivers original copies and helps to keep written records. It can also deliver physical material such as product samples, brochures, leaflets…which customers prefer to receive by post.

-It provides psychological and emotional satisfaction.

-It is cheaper compared to telephone and fax.

b.PromotionThere many ways to promote postal services:-Frequently issue special and limited stamp editions to encourage customers to go to the post office.

-Cooperate with the media such as newspapers or magazines to have writing letters contests to promote letter-writing.

-Promote environment-friendly postal services and corporate social responsibility to have support from environmental groups.

-Have automated vending machine put in public area such as subway, supermarkets like SingPost in Singapore where customers can print stamps and envelopes as well as pay bills, etc. It will be more convenient for customers.

-For private clients, we can come up with some sales promotion such as giving discounts if the customers send parcels over 5 kg, or giving membership card and VIP card to loyal customers.

-Offer "Hold Mails" service to register loyal customers. When they are away on vacation, their mails can be kept on hold and delivered when they are back home. The process can be done online.

-The best way to promote to corporate clients is try to offer premium services with reasonable price. It is important to create convenience and value to customers.

-Maintain good relationships with secretary or gatekeepers in organizations.

-Offer corporate pricing such as discounts for frequent clients.

Advertising media:-TV: it is very expensive to advertise on TV. Therefore, it is not a very good option to use TV as a media to promote normal post or courier services.

-Billboard: it attracts the customers but just a small number and people do not have much time to look at the advertisement.

-Newspapers: this is a good medium as it reaches a lot of people and comparatively cheaper. More information can be put on newspapers ads and customers have time to read.

-Magazines: they are more expensive than newspapers and normally have limited space. We can consider advertising on Government's periodical magazines about postal and telecom services.

-Radio: not a lot of people listen to radio nowadays and people do not tend to pay attention to advertising on radio. It is not a good option.

-Internet: it is cheap to advertise on internet. We can put banners on online news websites or our affiliates' website.

IV.The challenges posed by electronic forms of communicationElectronic media most of the time are free (email) or very fast and cheap (fax). With the development of Voice-Over-IP (VoIP) service, it is now very cheap to call overseas. The mail, on the contrary, cannot be as fast as email or fax. However, with a lot of competitive benefits, mail can still compete with electronic media. The future of postal services is still promising. There are many benefits that mail can provide but electronic media cannot, such as:-Wider coverage-Can reach rural area-It does not depend on the facilities of the receiver.

-Guaranteed delivery, security and confidentiality.

-It is still the best option for marketing such as sending product samples, promotional materials…-It provides psychological and emotional satisfaction.

Even though electronic media has taken a big part of market share from mail, mail and other postal services can still survive in the competitive market because of the above reasons.

V.ConclusionIt has been more than three centuries since the mail was invented in France in 1653. Since then, the development of technology has changed the mail system and made it more convenient. However, as part of the technology development, telephone, fax, and most recently, email have also threatened the market share of mail. Electronic media are fast and sufficient but they do lack some advantages that the mail has been offering. Although there is a sign of market decline for post, it still can survive in the market for many years to come as electronic media can never replace the traditional mail.

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