Direct mailers in the United States are to see for themselves the benefits of linking smartphone technology with the physical mail, under a special promotion from the US Postal Service this summer.

The world’s largest postal operator is set to offer a special 3% discount in July and August for any letters or flats if they include two-dimensional mobile barcodes that can be read by consumer smartphones.

Already in use within other sectors of print advertising, the barcodes – which include so-called Quick Response QR barcodes – allow a householder to scan items with their iPhone, BlackBerry or Android phones in order to access extra information.

This might link them through to online content, special offers or competitions.

The USPS hopes its summer sale will help to highlight the potential for mobile technology to be used in conjunction with the physical mail to offer better response rates for direct marketing campaigns.

Thomas Foti, the Postal Service manager of marketing mail, told Post&Parcel yesterday: “We firmly believe that mobile barcodes add significant value to mail – they help increase response rates and they help establish relationships with those that don’t have necessarily already have a relationship with mail – for instance those in younger generations.”

The 3% discount will apply to items in both First Class Mail and Standard Class Mail, sent using a permit imprint payment methods.

But, to qualify for the lower postage rate, mailers must display the mobile barcodes either outside or within all mailpieces in a mailing, using the barcodes to “market, promote or educate” mail recipients – rather than for internal tracking purposes.

Continues at:  USPS to flaunt mail’s smartphone potential with summer sale | Post & Parcel.

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