The U.S. Postal Service has been in the news recently, announcing planned service cutbacks as part of a survival strategy. Most RetailWire panelists agree that retailers have seen this coming for years, and have adjusted their strategies accordingly to deliver goods to customers on a timely basis. I’m focused on the retailers still heavily dependent on direct mail to drive their marketing message:
The writing has been on the wall for many years at the USPS. Reed Hastings of Netflix said several years ago that prospects of postal service declines kept him awake at night…and this was during the heyday of Netflix’s mail order service. Whether you agree with some of Netflix’s marketing missteps or not, they have at least moved fast to a streaming model in part due to USPS service cuts.
As to the question of direct mail, retailers depend on this medium as consumers turn away from reading the print newspaper. It’s not just a question of timing and creative, but also cost management in light of higher USPS fees to deliver mail. Retailers would be wise to reallocate their marketing resources to online and mobile at a faster pace because the long-term trend is irreversible.