USPS has started offering its residential customers in the Northern Virginia area (Near Washington DC) free notification by email of mail to be delivered to their mailbox the same day. Customers receive scanned images of the outside of their envelopes and small packages the morning before they receive it. The images are a by-product of the automated sorting process where addresses are located on the envelope or small parcel and red to determine their sorting destination.
A similar service has been available to P.O.Box holders where they can receive text messages when mail is being delivered to their box. The USPS strategy is to increase direct mail response rates by providing direct mailers with “two impressions”, one when customers sees the email and one when they receive the “real mail”, according to an MTAC meeting summary.
“Did you know that the USPS is building new tools to help our customers manage their mail from PCs, smartphones and other devices? Now, we’re inviting you to test on new service—Real Mail Notification—at no cost when you register below,” the invitation said. About 10 to 14 days after the user signs up they will receive daily emails with the scanned images of the mail that will be delivered that day.