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U.S. Postal Service Gives 2-D Barcodes Its Stamp of Approval



Marketers that employ scannable 2-D barcodes in their mailings will receive discounts from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in July and August, according to a USPS announcement. A 2 percent postage discount will be applied to standard mail and first-class mail letters as well as direct mail flats and cards featuring a 2-D barcode such as a Quick Response (QR) Code, a Microsoft Tag or a SpyderLynk SnapTag. When scanned by a mobile device, the code must trigger a link directly to either a mobile-optimized webpage that lets the recipient buy a product or service or to a mobile-optimized page customized to the recipient and accessible by a personalized URL.

“Mobile technologies continue to be one of the fastest-growing marketing sectors,” said USPS’ Gary Reblin. “During the holidays, mobile purchases were up from 5.5 percent of e-commerce sales in 2010 to 11 percent in 2011. The integration of direct mail with mobile technologies will not only improve the long-term value of direct mail but also increase returns for merchants.”

SpyderLynk announced that it is offering a 10 percent discount to businesses that use its Buy-it-Now Mobile Commerce SnapTag 2-D barcode technology in conjunction with the postal service promotion. “Buy-it-Now SnapTags engage consumers in a powerful and highly interactive way and convert those direct mail prospects into customers,” said SpyderLynk CEO Nicole Skogg. “For direct marketers, mobile provides a new channel to add names to their databases, reduce acquisition costs and increase ROI.”

MarketingProfs estimates that nearly half of U.S. mobile subscribers own a smartphone, and 20 percent of U.S. smartphone owners scanned a QR Code with their smartphones as of December. “Personalization has always been an effective attribute of direct mail, and studies show that it improves return on investment,” Reblin said. “Tying personalization with mobile technology is the next obvious step to enhancing the value of both mail and mobile marketing.”