Mobile Barcode Incentive Is Back!
Based on the success of the Mobile Barcode Incentive
offered by the Postal Service™ in 2011, they are bringing it back for an encore this summer starting July 1, 2012
and running through August 31, 2012. (On March 26, 2012 the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) issued an order approving the incentive for 2012.) This incentive is for mailers
who include mobile barcodes in or on certain mailpieces. The incentive and the regulations have changed a bit since last year’s incentive, so mailers
need to pay close attention to the changes.
What are Mobile Barcodes?
The USPS requirements for the mobile barcode
incentive are that the mailpieces contain a transactional two-dimensional barcode or similar print technology such as watermarks or tags (collectively ‘‘Mobile Barcode
’’ or "Mobile Barcodes
") readable by consumer mobile devices. As a refresher, these codes are two-dimensional (2-D) matrix barcodes that are readable by dedicated scanners and camera phones equipped with 2-D barcode scanning applications. One of the most popular 2-D barcodes is the QR (Quick Response) code. QR codes were first used in Japan in the early 1990s to track parts in the automotive industry and are now used for many other applications. The barcodes can be encoded with text, URL’', or other data.
These codes are now popular in such applications as billboard ads, in-store displays, event ticketing and tracking, trade shows and conferences, print ads, websites, business cards, direct mail campaigns, email marketing, couponing and many more.
It is important to note that to fully benefit from mobile barcodes
; the text, data, or links embedded in the barcode should bring the user to a mobile-friendly application. If the barcode
directs the user to data or an application that is not easy to read and to use on a mobile device, it probably won't achieve the desired results.
What is the USPS Incentive?
One of the changes to the USPS
incentive for 2012 is that the discount has been reduced to a 2% postage discount on First-Class Mail presort and Standard Mail (Regular and Nonprofit) commercial letters and flats that contain a mobile barcode either inside or outside the mailpiece. This is an up-front discount, not a rebate
. There are also some additional restrictions regarding the use of the barcodes. To be eligible, each Presorted and automation mailpiece in the mailing that is listed on the postage statement for that mailing must have a Mobile Barcode
on the outside of each piece or on the contents within each piece. When scanned, the Mobile Barcode
must lead the recipient of the mailpiece to either: a Web page that allows the recipient to purchase a product or service, or a personalized URL that leads to a Web page whose Web address and content are unique to the mailpiece recipient. In both cases, the Web site must remain mobile-optimized. Mobile Barcodes
that direct consumers to Web pages that allow payment for prior or future purchases, or encourage enrollment in online bill payment or paperless statement services are not eligible for the discount. Mailpieces with Mobile Barcodes
that convey postage information, destination, sender, or a machineable serial number for security also are not eligible for the discount.
The Rules for Mailers
There are some specific eligibility requirements in order for mailers to take advantage of this new incentive. To be eligible for the 2% mobile barcode
discount, customers must register on the USPS
Business Customer Gateway at gateway.usps.com, and specify which permits and CRIDs will participate in the promotion. Registration opens May 1, 2012, and must be completed at least 24 hours prior to the first mailing date. Other requirements include:
- Eligible mailings must be accompanied by electronic documentation. Mailings that are prepared by an entity other than the mail owner must indicate the identity of the owner in the electronic documentation. The electronic documentation must identify the mail owner and mail preparer in the "By/For" fields for all mailings, either by Customer Registration ID (CRID), Mailer ID (MID) or other account type that is assigned by USPS.
- Mailings of automation letters or flats must have Intelligent Mail® barcodes. Mailpieces with POSTNET™ barcodes will not be eligible for the price reduction.
- The promotion discount does not apply to single-piece First-Class Mail pieces including residual single-piece First-Class Mail pieces on a postage statement for Presorted and automation mailings.
- Postage payment methods will be restricted to permit imprint, metered postage, or precancelled stamps. Pieces with metered postage must bear an exact amount of postage as stipulated by the class and shape of mail.
- Mailers must provide the USPS acceptance unit with an unaddressed sample of the mailpiece that contains a mobile barcode. If mobile personalization is used, at least two samples must be submitted, demonstrating that the web addresses are unique to each addressee. Mailers must retain a sample of each mailpiece claiming a discount until October 31, 2012.
- Other than a full-service Intelligent Mail discount, no other incentives apply for mailpieces claiming a discount under this promotion.
- Participants must agree to participate in a survey conducted during or after the promotional period.
- Federal government official mailings under OMAS are not eligible for this promotion.
- Commingled, co-mailed and combined mailings are allowed, but a separate postage statement is required for mailpieces with Mobile Barcodes.
For more details, consult the USPS Mobile Barcode Promotion area
on RIBBS, or the USPS 2012 Mobile Commerce and Personalization Promotion Program Requirements Guide
may also send concepts and mailpiece mock-ups via email to MobileBarcode@usps.gov
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