In the first part of our comparison we concluded that more convenient bill payment options are needed for US based operations, and that zumbox seems potentially more prone to “junk mail” than NoMorePost.

What follows is a closer look at the cost of paperless mailings, and for that we will distinguish between transactional mailings (bills, statements, etc)  and direct mail advertisements, commonly known as  “junk mail”.

Cost of transactional mailings:

  • NoMorePost (United Kingdom)

NoMorePost charges a penny (approx 1.65 cents) per 25kBytes of data (approx. one page)  sent as paperless mail to the selected recipients, regardless if the recipient’s account is active or not.  The cost sensitive choice consists of only sending paperless mail to customers which have already signed up for paperless mail during a prior promotional campaign.  On the other hand the sender could theoretically elect to send paperless mail to all its customers,  signed up or not.  This sounds less effective, but it could potentially provide a vehicle for promotional campaigns to gain new customers.

  • zumbox (USA)

Senders of transactional mail will not be charged for the actual mailing. However, zumbox charges undisclosed fees for each viewed document and for each customer which selects the “Go Paperless” option.  Overall this sounds like an attractive choice for companies which are willing to explore paperless mailings with little financial risk.  Again, there is no charge for sending paperless mail which is not opened/viewed.  Additionally, this sounds like  a quite  attractive vehicle for promotional campaigns to gain new consumer account activations.

Cost of direct-mail mailings:

  • NoMorePost (United Kingdom)

We asked NoMorePost the question:  “Can direct mailers use your service? ” and received the following answer:

” No, this is something we want to avoid, we want to create an environment where our users can easily manage their post and documents without having to waste time going through junk mail …. That’s what email accounts are for, we believe that this approach is what will make us the first choice when choosing a paperless postal system. “

  • zumbox (USA)

Direct mailings sent via zumbox will be routed to all selected recipients regardless if a recipient’s zumbox account is active or not.  Lower volume mailings cost 5 cent per recipient. There also exists an undisclosed discount for high volume mailings.

A problem we see is that a prospective mailer does not know how many of his mailings will be sent to activated zumbox accounts and how many to inactive zumbox accounts.   For example:  We could send a zumbox mailing to 125,000 addresses in Boston, MA. At 5 cents per mailing the total credit card bill would be $6250. The real question is: How many people in Boston have already signed up with zumbox? Let’s assume that 5% of the Boston populous has signed up with zumbox. Thus, your possibly time sensitive mailing can only be viewed in time by 6,250 recipients. So your effective cost ends up at $1 per viewed mailing.  And how the response rate compares to paper based mail, we do not know.  In this example of a time sensitive mailing, you might be better served with a traditional paper based and unaddressed saturation mailing. Once zumbox activations reach higher percentages it could be a more attractive choice. Making the right choice is, of course, much more complicated than in our simplified example. Consider that zumbox activation rates could be very different depending on the demographics of an area as small as a city block.  Which kind of clientele does the mailer want to address? What products are advertised? All just mentioned factors, plus some more, play a role in achieving a desirable ROI.

Conclusion

For transactional mail both companies provide attractive offers.
The latest Royal Mail strikes in the UK may help NoMorePost in the acquisition of new mailers. And some big US based mailers may now be more willing to explore the zumbox option, since inspectors at USPS appear to have disgruntled aforementioned mailers by back-charging them several million dollars in postage, as is pointed out in an article by Mary Ann Bennett.