An Post has launched its new Digital Stamp, the world’s first digital stamp with next-day delivery confirmation by text or email, marking a major digital advancement in postal services by Ireland’s national mail carrier. The Digital Stamp is available to buy through the An Post App at a cost of €2 (US$1.94) per stamp for regular envelopes or €3.80 (US$3.70) for large A4 envelopes.
Once purchased, customers receive a unique 12-digit code (the Digital Stamp) through the An Post App, which they can then handwrite onto their envelope or postcard where a traditional stamp would go. Customer will benefit from next working day delivery when posted in any post box by the latest collection time for delivery, at which time the sender will receive a text or email to confirm delivery of the item.
The Digital Stamp is An Post’s response to increased customer demand for speedy, easy-to-use, digitalized services to support them in their everyday lives. Research and customer trials carried out by An Post in the test phase of development showed that 78% of respondents expressed a keen interest in using a Digital Stamp, with a further 91% praising its ease of use. The figures also revealed the key occasions for which respondents would purchase a Digital Stamp including birthdays, last-minute Christmas cards, social welfare and tax-related paperwork and spur-of-the-moment cards and notes to loved ones.
Des Morley, chief digital and technology officer at An Post, commented at the launch of the digital stamp on October 12), “The development and implementation of the Digital Stamp is a major step forward in the digital transformation of our mails and parcels business and marks the next step in our commitment to meeting the changing demands of our customers with accessible and easy to use innovative, digital services.
“Once the digital stamp code is created, our letter sorting technology recognizes it as a ‘real live’ stamp as it’s processed for delivery, before the postperson scans it to send confirmation of delivery as it drops through the receiver’s letterbox.”
Garrett Bridgeman, managing director of An Post Commerce (pictured), added, “We’re determined to continue developing products and services to make life easier and services more accessible for our customers. Here we have a great innovation that works for everyone; busy individuals who are time-poor and want to purchase stamps at a time and place that works for them; or last-minute senders as well [who] need to post at irregular hours and may not have stamps to hand.
“The Digital Stamp is incredibly handy, it’s available anywhere and anytime in the An Post App and the confirmation of delivery provides great peace of mind to the customer. Our cutting-edge sorting technology identifies only correctly acquired digital stamp codes.”
The Digital Stamp only covers delivery within the Republic of Ireland and customers are reminded to always include a return address on the top left corner of every envelope. An Post’s sorting technology will only process items with a verified correct digital stamp code – incorrect or illegible codes will be rejected and returned to sender.
Computer vision and robotics expert Prime Vision provided key software components to be integrated in An Post’s new Digital Stamp solution and the company also ensured that the existing sorting software is able to identify the stamp codes.