USPS offers discount for mail with smartphone-friendly barcodes

The following information was released by the U.S. Postal Service:

To help propel the mailing industry into the age of mobile interactivity, the U.S. Postal Service today announced a promotion designed to complement the enduring ability of direct mail to target customers and deliver results for marketers.

During July and August, the Postal Service will offer a Mobile Barcode Promotion that rewards mailers launching campaigns incorporating two-dimensional, smartphone-friendly barcodes with an upfront 3 percent postage discount on qualifying Standard and First-Class Mail letters, flats or cards.

Customers receiving these special mailpieces will be able to use smartphones to scan Quick Response (QR) barcodes to obtain more information or qualify for additional offers posted on mobile-enabled websites.

“This promotion is another step in our long-term strategy to ensure mail remains relevant as a key element in the overall advertising mix for an increasingly interactive marketplace,” said Tom Foti, manager, Marketing Mail. “By creating a promotion for placing mobile barcodes on mailpieces, we’re providing marketers with a compelling way to reach an internet-savvy customer base.”

Foti says the two-month Mobile Barcode Promotion marks the first mailing industry promotion based on a multimedia approach, and is designed to demonstrate how the value of mail is increased by interfacing with technology to engage customers.

“Consumers have become more comfortable with digital devices and online technologies, and the industry should consider incorporating elements that reflect these trends into direct mail campaigns,” says Foti.

The Mobile Barcode Promotion is open to mailers — including non-profit mailers — who submit qualifying First-Class or Standard Mail letters, flats or cards electronically using a permit imprint payment method. All mailpieces must include a mobile two-dimensional barcode on the outside of the mailpiece or within the mailpiece. The marketing information relayed in the mobile barcode must be relevant to the contents of the mailpiece. A separate postage statement is required for all mailpieces with mobile barcodes. Complete details can be found online at

  • Lynn

    Once again, the mailers (not the USPS) have developed a scheme to get a discount for postage. The USPS have always been revenue whores to the point of being scammed. USPS Marketing needs to be farmed out.

  • Al

    I think somebody was high when this was dreamed up.

    At one time, nearly every Postal customer received daily First Class mail. Let’s say the price paid for that delivery was 50 cents. Adding Standard Rate (“junk””) mail generated additional revenue (let’s say 25 cents) for a stop that the carrier was going to make anyway making it a 75 cent sale to the USPS. Now that First Class deliveries are dying fast, the Carrier continues to deliver “junk” mail but for only 25 cents. It’s a formula to continue to lose money since the cost of making the stop no longer pays for the overhead that was already justified to be 50 cents. Add this to the arrangement they have with UPS whereby UPS makes a profit by receiving the parcel and paying USPS to actually deliver it. Does the USPS lose money on this too? Others argue that USPS needs to get more into parcel delivery where Fedex and UPS are making money. That would be impossible without millions of dollars of investment in an entire new delivery fleet.

    The sooner they realize that a hybrid model of the USPS and private sector is their only option for survival, the sooner the bleeding will stop.

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