Key Notes Vol. 02 No. 50

Direct Mail Marketers Get Gifts from USPSThe Postal Service just experienced what it projected as its busiest day of 2015.  Of course in the weeks leading up to Christmas, the post office is on the minds of many as they await the delivery of gifts purchased online and from catalogs.  This year, in addition to an ever-growing quantity of mail-order purchases, the USPS is also delivering some interesting gifts to direct mail marketers.  Although it is only available as a pilot in certain New York City ZIP Codes, the USPS has rolled out what it is calling the Informed Delivery app.  On broader scale, the USPS has also plannedpromotions for direct mail marketers in the coming calendar year. Building upon the promotions it offered in 2015, the 2016 plan includes incentives for the use of advanced printing technologies as well as crossovers between print and digital.  Source:  eLynxx
UPS Charges USPS Illegally Subsidizes Shipping ServicesIf UPS has its way, it could cost more to ship a package through the U.S. Postal Service.  The shipping giant is petitioning federal regulators to force the Postal Service to adjust the way it calculates its costs, arguing that the agency is using the proceeds from its monopoly First Class mail to subsidize the delivery of the shipping services where it competes with private carriers.  UPS is alleging that in keeping competitive shipping prices artificially low, the Postal Service is violating the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), which granted the agency more pricing freedoms, but barred it from using its monopoly in letter mailing to subsidize competitive shipping products.  Source:  eCommerce Bytes
NPF Announces 2016 Promo Catalog and a New Professional Certification The deadline for early registration discount pricing has been extended to Friday, January 8th to ensure that everyone has had a chance to view the 2016 promotional catalog.  Time flies during the holiday season so register for the 2016 National Postal Forum before you go on vacation!  Don’t miss out on saving an extra $50 just for registering before January 8th.  Source:  NPF
Xbox One Gets Virtual Mall With Mobile Payments Developed with e-commerce outfit Von Bismark, The Mall lets users browse through the stores of participating retailers looking for clothes.  When they spot something they like, gamers stand in front of their TV and, thanks to Microsoft’s Kinect motion tracking camera, try it on.  If they like the look of an outfit, users pay with the Powa Technologies PowaTag app, scanning a QR code on the TV screen with their mobile phone. Once payment details are entered the first time the app is used, purchases are made in a single touch.  Click here to watch a demonstration of The Mall.  [Editors Note:  Take advantage of the U.S. Postal Service Promotions and Incentive programs using advanced technology like this in catalogs and direct mail.]  Source:  Finextra
Print Catalogs Are Back this Holiday SeasonIn December 2015, InfoTrends released a multi-client study entitled Direct Marketing Production Printing & Value-Added Services:  A Strategy for Growth.   As part of the study, InfoTrends conducted structured surveys with more than 800 U.S. consumers to learn about their use of print and digital channels, the value of accurate color and texture rendering (look & feel), their interest in value-added print (personalized, interactive), concerns about privacy, and environmental issues in terms of catalogs and direct mail.  InfoTrends’ survey respondents indicated a high propensity to read and interact with catalogs.  Specifically:  64%of consumers regularly or almost always read catalogs; 74%of consumers like catalogs and consider them useful tools to learn about products; 90%of consumers use catalogs to learn and get ideas about things that interest them.  The study also uncovered the fact that catalogs are a critical tool for moving consumers across multiple channels, including online avenues and brick & mortar retailers.  For example:  Consumers spend an average of 8.1 minutes reading a catalog and 62% of consumers who receive catalogs made a purchase within the past 3 months that was influenced by a catalog.  Source:  WhatTheyThink
‘Holographic Magazine’ for a 3D ReadMagazines in which the words and pictures just sit there on the page are so 20th-century.  In the future, magazines may spring to life when we pass our electronic devices over them like magic wands.  At least, they will if Funn Magazine gets its way.  Funn, currently raising funds on Kickstarter, is touting itself as the world’s first holographic magazine.   When you scan a page in Funn Magazine, using Funn’s accompanying app, the additional images really pop off the page as you view it through your phone or tablet.  What’s more, you can move your device around and see behind objects.  Check out Funn Magazine’s Kickstarter page by clicking here.  Source:  CNET