Not many people know that USPS already offers a hybrid postcard service. So far it is just a little niche product, but with potential for growth. We take a look at Austria Post AG, which has taken the idea of hybrid postcards a step further.

The Austrian Postal Service launched “e-Postkarte” (e-Postcard). e-Postkarte is a hybrid picture post card. It enables customers to submit their digital pictures from their mobile phones. Austrian Post AG prints and delivers the submitted picture as a physical picture postcard. Users can download free apps for various mobile phones. These apps can access the smart phone’s address book, easing the task to send a card to numerous recipients. For all other phones, Austria Post offers a website which is optimized for mobile browsing. The e-Postkarte can be personalized with custom text, and sent from all over Europe at a cost of EURO 1.99. Various payment options do exist.

Postal Sanity believes that USPS could expand the existing hybrid card service by

  • Optimize the website for mobile phone browsing
  • Offer free and easy to use applications for various smart phones (license from Austria Post?). By the way: USPS already has an iPhone App to locate post offices.
  • Run a little campaign targeting the smart phone generation. Awareness enables impulse buying of this service (upon taking a funny picture)

On a finishing note: Some years ago, Australia Post run a very nice ad to revive letter writing. A similar ad could stimulate youngsters into sending a e-Postcard to Pops and Granny. The USPS hybrid postcard service starts at an attractive $1.25.