Businesses contemplate Canada Post proposals

Dec. 14, 2013 at 2:14 PM
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OTTAWA, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- Rising rates and cessation of urban home deliveries by Canada Post are game changers, some for the good, some not so good, business experts said.

In the the first place, businesses still prefer paper for keeping track of orders and receipts and for transferring money, said Joanne McNeish, assistant professor of marketing at Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Saturday.

"It's very hard for them to integrate their systems so they can do electronic payment and manage their accounting systems," she said. "Some of these processes will come along, but they're just not well developed enough, not accepted enough by the Canada Revenue Agency," she said.

Businesses could respond to the changes by stopping the practice of including a return envelope in business correspondence, sending lighter catalogs and dropping the number of mailings per year, McNeish said.

In the case of local non-profits, some may prefer to deliver mail through the use of volunteers, McNeish said.

But the changes could also provide an opportunity for local businesses, she said.

Companies such as UPS and FedEx are outfitted to do home deliveries, but so are distribution divisions of media companies, the CBC said.

"If Canada Post isn't going to deliver it to the door, why wouldn't they? They're part of huge networks that could fill in quite nicely in the urban core," McNeish said.

One long-term, cost-saving effect likely to come about with the price hikes is that some companies could make more of a commitment to electronic communication, said Walid Hejazi, an associate professor at the University of Toronto​'s Rotman School of Management.

"The future is not in paper-based billing; the future is with electronic billing. This could be one factor that could encourage them to move in that direction," he said.

Direct mail campaigns, including commercial and political marketing, might not be affect, except in terms of costs, said Steve Falk, director of Prime Data, a direct mail company.

"For marketing purposes and fundraising purposes and staying engaged as a supporter of a political party or a union, mail actually works really well, and it's measurable," Falk said.

One factor hard to overlook: Direct mailing is effective, Falk said. There are many ways to do marketing, but a leaflet that sits on a desk for a couple of days is considered a relatively effective marketing tool, he said.

Canada Post's decision to stop home deliveries in cities is likely to increase the use of community mail boxes, which is likely to be an acceptable change for marketers, Falk said.

"About two-thirds of Canadians get mail in these community boxes now, so if there was an actual trend that [showed it's] better to send to a home than to a community box, I think we probably would have identified it," he said.

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