Bringing Mail to Life with NFC

01/20/2017  |  Jess Malick

E-mail inboxes have become so flooded with advertising that people are becoming immune to them, and get excited to receive a piece of direct mail in their mailbox. Because of this, companies have recently started returning to the direct mail channel for advertising. The online channels have become so crowded that consumers have become annoyed with the ads using spam filters and adblockers to avoid them. One way to make direct mailpieces more interactive is through Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. NFC is a technology that allows for communication between an NFC tag and mobile devices.

A company that offers NFC cloud-based solutions is Purple Deck. They have a product called TapLive that deploys and delivers content to NFC tags. With TapLive, users are able to instantly change the tag and track it. This allows companies to take control of their content, and the best part is that it's easy to use!

Users can simply "tap" the tag and it will deliver a variety of information to their smartphone, such as URLs, videos, custom landing pages, polls, click-to-call and more. TapLive is an NFC solution that could be incorporated into mailpieces to be included in a new USPS promotion.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is encouraging the use of NFC by offering an incentive to mailers who incorporate NFC technology into their mailpieces. Mailers can participate in the 2017 Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion using the NFC component of the promotion to qualify for an incentive discount. This is giving mail the potential to offer a greater value by engaging customers in multiple platforms, including a digital one.

Including an NFC chip in a mailpiece makes your advertising mobile ready. It links the physical world with the digital one, and gives customers the opportunity to get additional information about your product or company.

There are many advantages to enhancing mail with NFC technology, including but not limited to: faster trialing, improved response rates, a high degree of personalization, onboarding customers directly to a digital platform and more engaging calls to action.

To participate in USPS's 2017 Emerging and Advanced Technology promotion, the mailpiece must incorporate at least one of the following technologies: NFC, Video in Print (ViP), Bluetooth Low Energy/Beacon technology, "enhanced" augmented reality, virtual reality or Digital to Direct Mail. These will all allow the recipient to engage in interactive experiences with their mailpiece, using both the mail and mobile devices, tablets, etc.

Participating in the promotion, which runs from March 1 to August 31, 2017, will get someone a two percent discount for eligible mailpieces. Registration period for the promotion runs from January 1, 2017 through August 31, 2017. Mail classes that are eligible are: First Class Mail presort and automation letters, cards and flats; Standard Mail letters and flats; and Nonprofit Standard letters and flats.