FEDweek IT

The Postal Service could benefit from greater feedback on the advertising mail it sends out by incorporating symbols or QR codes that recipients can scan with a smartphone to provide feedback, the USPS inspector general has said in a white paper.

It noted that advertising mail provides about $17 billion of revenue per year to USPS, and that this kind of mail has been surprisingly resilient despite an ongoing shift toward electronic and away from physical mail, while maintaining a constant share of the advertising market.This has been a positive development for USPS along with this growing package delivery business despite ongoing declines in first class mail.

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However, the ability to enable a two-way communications link between recipients and mailers is not as robust as current digital advertising, USPS noted.

It proposed a “feedback loop” be set up where recipients would be rewarded for scanning a QR code (basically a bar code for phones) with their smart phone and providing feedback.

Mailers could then the feedback to tailor ads more precisely, increasing their revenues. Participation could be strictly voluntary, and privacy guidelines would be established, the IG added.