We've seen a lot of activity in digital mail boxes, particularly in 2012, with new entrants emerging in the 'postal' market.
The prize to the winner is huge: the number of customers, continued interactions and the data that goes with it to drive more revenue. The challenge, however, is as big, if not larger than the prize. The service must be easy to access and be presented in a way that is simple for consumers to use, while not interfering with their current interaction hubs.
So the nirvana for the digital mail box is one that is convenient, digital, and also secure. For me, two sectors seem to be in an ideal position to offer such a service; banks and telco's.
Why? Simple, they have the credibility in the security of data, ease of use and they also have a unique customer number that can be used as a recipients address for such a service. Admittedly, banks are seen as better at security but your mobile number or home number is also precious to a user.
Security is something that consumers value, especially when it comes to banking and other areas such as telcos where personal information is stored. Banks have done a great job in building a secure online and mobile capability that is also relatively seamless for their customers.
If I am going to opt-in for a digital mail box that stores my bills and other secure documents then it has to be convenient, readily available and always in the same place. Offering the service as part of your banking experience means that all things that are financial and/or valuable can be accessed with one login. A bill arrives, and you can pay it or schedule the payment. Your insurance policies, wills and other such documents are there for you whenever you login to your bank.
The problem here then, is what happens when you change banks. Like direct debits, you need to change your digital mailbox address. This makes a postal service option more attractive. But of course it will also mean you will have yet another new ID to recall.
Looking at the telco as the place for your digital mailbox shows that there are some upsides. Mostly, number portability is a reality. People keep their same mobile number regardless of the carrier they choose. This means that you could possibly change your mobile or phone provider, while your bills and secure documents will move with you, and new notices will continue to reach their destination.
The digital mail box play in Australia is yet to gain critical mass and the benefits are yet to be seen by the majority of consumers. To be successful in this space, businesses need to build their credibility and brand in the digital space where banks and telco's have had their customers interacting this way for many years.