Thursday, April 19, 2012

Services that Help Save on International Mailing Costs

tags: international postal logistics, international mail, postal operators, remail, mail consolidation, hybrid mail

International postage costs are significant.  We all want to lower our costs to maximize the return on marketing spend or reduce fulfillment costs.  Here are some services that can save you more than they cost. 

Mail Consolidators combine or consolidate mail from multiple companies or organizations to meet the requirements for optimal postage rates on international mail in the country where that mail will enter the mail stream.  Their services include affixing indicia, sorting, bagging, and labeling.  In exchange for this processing, the postal service will provide a discounted rate to the mail consolidator.  Companies providing USPS ISAL (International Surface Air Lift) and IPA (International Priority Airmail) services are mail consolidators, designated as pre-qualified postal wholesalers or PQWs by the USPS. 

Remailers transport your prepared letters or other items as freight to another country and mail them there.  This can save on postage when mailing a large number of items to one country or region, as well as creating a “local look” if that is desirable.  Companies may do both remail and consolidation and some may offer letter preparation or postal pre-sort services for the country where the letters will be mailed. 

Private Delivery Services range from large multinational express delivery companies to smaller local companies specializing in hand delivery to homes or offices.  Since laws vary from country to country, the exact services available depend on the location of the service provider.  They offer additional options for delivery when postal options are not sufficient or effective. 

Hybrid Mail is a more recent option to send text and documents as electronic files to another country or countries for printing and mailing there.  (Unfortunately, that term is used in different ways to describe other services as well.)  Since digital files are easily, quickly, and inexpensively sent across national borders, there are obvious international applications.  And because digital documents are easily customized, personalized letters, invoices, and marketing mail can all be printed in this way within the country of destination.  Hybrid mail services are offered by private companies and some postal operators. 

For companies with smaller quantities of international mail, it may be necessary to contact a number of potential service providers.  While many logistics companies require a minimum number of pieces or weight, there are companies that will work with smaller mailings.  If a company declines to handle your mail, ask for the name of another company that might take what you're mailing.