Is digital mail the death-knell of the paper statement?


Digital mail has been getting a lot of press recently, firstly with Computershare’s Digital Post Australia launch in August and then with the launch of Aussie Post’s Digital Mailbox in November.  A dispute over naming rights was settled just before the launch of Digital Post; Aussie Post’s offering was suspended shortly after launch due to technical glitches  and the two have an ongoing battle to sign up the major brands in the Australian service landscape that’s sure to keep them in the headlines for months to come.

So what is all the fuss about?

In short, digital mail offers us the chance to finally kick the habit of hard copy statements by blending the best of email and physical mail.  A single on-line mailbox, where a consumer can receive, pay and store bills and statements from multiple providers.  Users will define which providers they will accept correspondence from so it should be a spam free space (except for those pesky cross sell comms).  So, will we finally be released?

It’s hard to tell from PWC’s  nuts and bolts review of digital mail, released in September.  The authors do a good job of explaining the benefits for the provider but do not adequately explain the customer experience, so we are left unclear as to how complete a response it is to the shortcomings of email and therefore how likely it is to see wide take-up.

We get a better view of what’s on offer through the websites of the two local offers and of their software providers Volly and Zumbox.  If the experience measures up to their glossy promotions, then this could really be the answer.  One feature that really appeals is the use of your physical mail address as a means of identifying you and connecting your with your providers who use the service.

A key reason that current on-line document filing cabinets are rarely used, is the hassle factor of logging on to multiple service provider sites to access records.  Given the hub status of the local leaders in the space, if they and the service providers are prepared to invest to build uptake, digital mail could truly could be the death-knell of the paper statement.



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