Getting Your Mail Delivered
In 2014, the United States Postal Service reported that 4.3% of all mail was ‘Undeliverable as Addressed’ (UAA). At first glance, this doesn’t seem too bad, BUT this seemingly small percentage can become a very expensive issue, having a negative impact on your business. Looking at the big picture, this translates to over 6.6 billion pieces of UAA mail, costing the USPS $1.5 billion a year. What’s more, UAA mail cost the entire mailing industry over $20 billion in 2015.
Think about the number of packages, mailers, documents, and invoices that you send out on a daily basis. How many Undeliverable As Addressed mailings do you experience daily, monthly, yearly? As reported by the USPS, it is likely around 4.3% of mailings. And that number doesn’t account for 3rd party courier services like UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.
To help illustrate the hard and soft costs associated with of UAA mail, let’s take a look at a couple examples.
You might think with the advent of the internet, mail-order catalogs would have become obsolete by now. On the contrary, catalogs are a healthy part of omnichannel marketing and with over 11.9 billion mail-order catalogs mailed in 2014, they do not appear to be going anywhere.
In fact, direct mail outperforms digital channels by a long shot, with 3.7% response rate on a house list and a 1.0% response rate on a prospect list. By comparison, all digital channels combined, only achieve a 0.62% response rate. The real power shows up when marketers combine direct mail WITH digital marketing. As Kurt Salmon discovered, over 58% of online shoppers say that they browse catalogs for ideas, and 31% have a retailer’s catalog with them when they make an online purchase.
“For example, during one calendar-year period, we observed that Internet-only customers of one specialty retailer placed orders of $80 on average, whereas catalog customers’ average orders totaled approximately $90.”
Extensive market research helps us see just how important mail-order catalogs are to many businesses. Unfortunately, of the 11.9 billion catalogs mailed in 2014, 476 million catalogs went undelivered. For companies that rely on catalog marketing, deliverability does have an immediate effect on their bottom line.
To provide more context, consider the following scenario.
A large retail clothing company is sending out millions of seasonal catalogs to their house and prospect lists. The costs to design, create, print, and mail these catalogs is substantial but they know that customer order values increase by 15% when they have a catalog in hand.
Unfortunately, recent sales reports indicate that the company’s response rates have dipped about 1%. After some inquiry, they discovered that 4.3% of their catalogs came back as UAA, and therefore did not reach their targets. They have suffered the direct costs of printing and postage and the indirect costs of a lost sales opportunities.
To correct this problem, they implemented some simple address validation tools and were able to reduce their UAA rate, thus saving on these costs and immediately getting back on track.
Undelivered Invoices & Packages results in Decreased Cash Flow & Unhappy Customers
Your relationship with your customers is everything. And a key part of customer service is “knowing” not only who your customers are, but also where they reside so that their deliveries are consistently getting to them. And, when you have loyal, happy customers, you maintain steady cash flow.
Along those same lines, customer invoices must be delivered on time, every time, in order to avoid unnecessary operational costs.
Companies whose invoices are not received in a timely fashion will experience a direct impact on their:
- Accounts Receivables Department: requiring additional time to call on customers or clients when invoices are not received
- Finance Department: affecting accounts receivable, aka, interrupting company cash flow
- Mailroom Operations (if applicable): spending time researching and in most cases resending statements/invoices and adding additional postage costs
But, by taking steps to validate their mailing addresses, they increase their chances of maintaining their customer relations. Ask yourself this question: How many times will a customer “tolerate” inadequate service, such as undelivered packages or invoices, before they decide to cancel their business altogether?
So how can you correct and streamline your customer lists for address accuracy while also keeping them current? up-to-dateness? It starts with plugging in Service Objects’ DOTS – Address Validation solution to verify, validate, and correct undeliverable mail.
To significantly increase the deliverability of your mailing lists, Service Objects offers a number of solutions that will help validate and correct your mailing addresses. All of our services can be accessed through our real-time APIs and/or using our batch process.
Here’s a quick rundown:
- DOTS Address Validation – US, can instantly verify, correct and append address information against our CASS-Certified USPS address verification database. Some companies choose to append latitude/longitude and demographic information, in which case, we recommend DOTS Address Validation Plus. Using either of these services, the majority of your addresses will be verified and corrected, and ready for mailing.
- DOTS Address Detective uses real-time “fuzzy” logic to complete missing data points in the address and then verified against our CASS-Certified database. Great for incomplete and hard to validate addresses.
- DOTS NCOA Live service, keeps verified and corrected addresses up-to-date. This is built on the USPS National Change-of-Address database (NCOALink).
- DOTS Address Validation – Canada, covers 15.7 million addresses in all 10 provinces and 3 territories and validates both French and English addresses.
- DOTS Address Validation – International, verifies, corrects, and appends addresses outside the United States and Canada. Covers over 250 countries, dependent areas and territories. Addresses are corrected to the unique requirements of country’s postal address formats and cultural idiosyncrasies.
Whether it’s a direct marketing mailer campaign, confidential documents, packages, or customer invoices, you need to count on successful deliveries every time.
So get it right the first time by using the most genuine, accurate, and up to date customer address information available. As it relates to your bottom line, there is no room for error. Plain and simple, Service Objects Address Validation solutions can help you reach your mailing goals!