San Antonio, TX, October 28, 2015 - While nearly everything that can go digital has gone digital, people still love getting physical packages in the mail.
College students are no exception. In fact, a new survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Ricoh found that nearly all adult Americans (95 percent) believe college students look forward to receiving packages at school from family/friends. And with the rise of online shopping for electronics, textbooks, medications and other needs, today’s students likely get more packages than ever.
Unfortunately, too many recipients fail to get their mail and packages on time, with 494 million pieces not reaching their destination within their allotted time frame**. Part of the problem with students particularly could be that no one tells them they have something to retrieve at the campus post office. Approximately 3 out of 4 (76 percent) college students in the Ricoh survey said it would be helpful to receive immediate notification of a package and/or mail delivery when attending college/university.
And what’s the best way to connect students with their packages? Over three-quarters (77%) of adults believe packages and letters are safer being delivered to a mailcenter than to a dorm or off-campus apartment.
The Ricoh survey findings reflect changing trends in mail and package volume. Between 2008 and 2014, the US Postal Service’s first-class single piece mail volume (mail bearing postage stamps, e.g., bill payments, cards and letters) was down 39 percent, prompting many students to quit checking their mailboxes. Meanwhile, shipping/package volumes rose by 21 percent.
Despite the shifting mix of mail and package volume, too many college campuses have mailrooms engineered for the 1950s, when a student may receive letter mail daily but just one or two packages per year. “Old-fashioned mailrooms devote too much space to mailboxes designed for letters in envelopes and too little space to the growing volume of larger packages,” said Renaud Rodrigue, Vice President, Higher Education, Ricoh Americas Corporation. “To provide students with a satisfying mail and package experience, campuses need to reengineer the physical space, technology and workflows – an investment that can actually reduce operating costs to deliver a surprisingly quick return on investment.”
New solutions for campus mail
Ricoh Campus Mail Solutions for Universities – implemented at campuses such as Lehigh University, Loyola University Maryland and University of South Alabama – support the way students live today. The solutions include technology and processes to notify students when mail of any kind arrives. Packages are tracked throughout the mailcenter, and students have new ways to quickly pick up their packages without the long lines that plague many campuses. Ricoh’s customized solution is an example of information mobility, getting information to those who need it anytime, anywhere.
Designed specifically for each client’s campus by Ricoh consulting professionals, the solutions typically include a high-density mail system that uses space-saving barcoded mail sleeves for letters. When a package or letter arrives at the mailcenter, the addressee receives an email notification and visits the mailcenter at their convenience. Upon arrival, they swipe their student ID card at a self-service kiosk near the mailcenter window.
Swiping their card sends an electronic alert to mailcenter workers along with the location and physical characteristics of the student’s package. A worker retrieves the items and presents them to the student as they reach the front desk.
Behind the counter, mailcenter staffers operate in a way that fits the new world of work. They often use small scanners, worn on their fingers, to scan barcodes on each slot into which they deposit an envelope, or on each space where they store a package. The barcode scan triggers the email alert to the student, who can pick up the letter or package any time.
Furthermore, moving letter mail behind the counter enables universities to reallocate space to accommodate the increased package volume or other uses, and eliminates the need to manage keys and/or combinations for staff and students. Mailbox locks or combinations should be changed when a mailbox is reassigned – a process at many universities that tends to be manual and cumbersome when dealing with thousands of mailboxes.
“Colleges and universities are competing intensely for the best students, and that competition hinges in large part on the quality of the student experience a campus can deliver,” said Rodrigue. “The mail experience is an important differentiator, and improving it can also be a great way to contain costs.”
This survey was conducted online within the United States between August 31-September 2, 2015 among 2,053 adults (aged 18 and over), among whom 170 are college students, by Harris Poll on behalf of Ricoh via its Quick Query omnibus product. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.
For details on Ricoh’s full line of products, services and solutions, please visit www.ricoh-usa.com.
*U.S. Census Bureau News, 8/17/2015, Quarterly Retail E-Commerce Sales
**Washington Post, 8/26/2015, Post Office can't even meet its own lower standards as late mail soars
| About Ricoh |
Ricoh is a global technology company specializing in office imaging equipment, production print solutions, document management systems and IT services. Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh Group operates in about 200 countries and regions. In the financial year ending March 2015, Ricoh Group had worldwide sales of 2,231 billion yen (approx. 18.5 billion USD).
The majority of the company's revenue comes from products, solutions and services that improve the interaction between people and information. Ricoh also produces award-winning digital cameras and specialized industrial products. It is known for the quality of its technology, the exceptional standard of its customer service and sustainability initiatives.
Under its corporate tagline, imagine. change. Ricoh helps companies transform the way they work and harness the collective imagination of their employees.
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