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By Chris Giles

Online Postage Comes of Age for Businesses

O

nline postage was born in the dotcom age, nearly two decades ago. In the summer of 1999, no fewer than four companies launched their offerings within days of each other. Today, there are only two companies with online postage offerings. An interesting footnote: one of these startups was actually the first of the many companies that went public during that time without reporting any revenue! While the initial online postage offerings garnered significant capital investment and headlines, the performance was rudimentary. You could print postage on envelopes, but not on labels. Systems required special hardware, such as a dongle, and each cus-

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JULY-AUGUST 2017 | MailingSystemsTechnology.com

tomer needed to be approved by the United States Postal Service (USPS). So with these limited capabilities and USPS constraints, online postage at the end of the day simply wasn’t that usable, in spite of all the enthusiasm and excitement for it on Wall Street. Not surprisingly, following the dotcom bust, some of the competitors disappeared. Since then, however, a lot has changed. First of all, we’ve all gotten used to conducting a great deal of our lives online. From shopping for all kinds of products and services, to paying for them, along with other monthly bills, to posting personal news and events on social media, to looking for a job, the online world for many of us is the familiar and often preferred place

where we get things done. Next, the speed and ease we experience online have changed our expectations for how quickly — and easily — things should happen. Finally, the mailing and shipping industry has evolved —dramatically — offering impressive online capabilities that have dialed up our expectations around tracking and delivery times. With respect to online postage, the USPS has eased its restrictions, and technology is giving users a lot more benefits than just saving them trips to the post office. Way Beyond Stamps Today, online postage solutions go far beyond printing postage, shipping labels

Mailing Systems Technology July/August 2017  

Mailing Systems Technology July/August 2017

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