Optimizing the Tail of the Mail: Economic Pressures and Marketing Opportunities Spur Sudden Interest in Standard Mail Presort

Standard Mail is back in the spotlight. While mailers were quick to adopt presort services for First Class Mail, the co-mingling of Standard Mail has recently taken off.

In years past, a simple in-house presort was often considered good enough for Third Class Mail. Today, Standard Mail represents a more significant portion of total volumes and opportunities to squeeze savings.


Simple economics

The combination of recent postage price changes, rising gas prices, and fuel surcharges is increasing mail delivery costs. Increasing the density of a Standard Mail presort, such as going from Mixed AADC to 5-digit levels, can reduce postage by more than 13%. Inducting mail closer to its destination could save an extra 18%. Presort services also provide more consistent in-home delivery, which is important for marketers integrating efforts across multiple channels.

Organizations need to optimize every mail piece—including those that end up in “the tail of the mail.” After in-house presorts and destination entry discounts were taken, even some of the largest, most efficient mailers have found they don’t have the volume or processing network required to optimize every piece. For those remainders—the tail of the mail—piece costs were higher and delivery times longer.


Bottom-line benefits

Standard Mail presort and co-mingling services can positively impact the bottom line. Mailers who can benefit from two or more of the following advantages will typically find the additional coordination required boosts mail piece efficiency and effectiveness.

1. Presort density: Co-mingle your mail with mail from other corporations and mail houses to increase 5-digit and carrier route densities. By presorting finely, everyone benefits from lower rates.

2. Entry discounts: Earn an additional level of savings when Standard Mail is trucked and inducted to a postal facility closer to the delivery point. Entry discounts on drop shipments to Network Distribution Centers (NDC) or Sectional Center Facilities (SCF) add significant savings.

3. Predictable pricing: Leading presort service providers allow mailers to contract for flat-rate pricing, facilitating budget projections and ROI calculations.

4. Faster in-home delivery: With greater density and entry level induction, mail pieces may arrive days sooner, rivaling First Class Mail.

5. Visibility: Leading-edge presort service operations can add, enhance, process, and consolidate barcode information and mail piece tracking, which can help coordinate multi-channel efforts across an organization.

Help from service Even if you can achieve some of these benefits in-house, a third-party co-mingling service with expertise in Standard Mail could help optimize results and reduce the disparity in cost and delivery time that’s common when you cannot achieve the same level of presort for every piece.

When selecting a presort service provider, consider the following:

Scalability: Can the service provider process variable quantities while maintaining high standards?

Network: Does the service provider have multiple facilities across the country to maximize drop shipments to USPS NDC and SCF sites? Are there redundancies in case of disaster?

Technology: How proficient are the software systems at the presort service provider? Are they up on the latest in Intelligent Mail?

Quality: Do they have the strict quality control and security measures to prevent costly delays?

Expertise: What’s their track record? What do their customers say?

Standard Mail presort offers many advantages, including cost savings, time savings, and streamlined processing. Many mailers and direct mail shops have concluded that achieving these benefits for only some or most of their mailings is no longer sufficient. Today, organizations need to optimize postal presort and avoid situations where low- density addresses fall into the “tail of the mail.” Leading mail presort services providers can help with customized programs based on your specific mail characteristics.