In an attempt to revive its ailing letter-post service, Bpost is to introduce a new two-tier mail system which will allow customers to pay more for next-day delivery, the company said. Letter mail has been under pressure since the growth of email and other messaging technology, which now allows a document to be sent to a client, signed electronically and sent back using only the internet. Commercial mails have also been affected, as clients opt to have their electricity bills or bank statements sent to them by email or other electronic means.
The bags still carried by mail carriers are now largely filled with advertising materials, or unsolicited commercial mails. Packages, on the other hand, remains a growing business in Belgium, where the cult of Amazon has yet to catch on widely.
Starting next year, if you want your letter delivered the following working day, it will cost more. “A differentiated price belongs with a differentiated service,” a Bpost spokesperson said. Normal mail would be delivered within three days.
At present, Bpost operates a +1 system, when all mail is supposed to be delivered the following day, though in practice that is often not the case. How exactly a +1 service could be distinguished from a +3 service is not clear, even to Bpost. How much of an effect on timing would the need for triage have? Would +3 mail have to be actively held back to make the difference meaningful?
The company will be examining the active implications of the idea in test projects later this year.
One important point: the +3 mail will not be cheaper than it is now. “We will not be reducing the price for +3 mail compared to the current price for +1 mail,” said Bpost CEO Koen Van Gerven.