Print And Mail Post Covid-19

Print and Mail Post Covid-19

The disaster no one saw coming

Covid-19 hit the US economy like a ton of bricks. Never before have we seen the shutdown of our entire system for an extended period of time. The shutdown forever changed parts of our economy and the parts it didn’t change it left a lasting effect on. More than 36 million people filed for unemployment in a period of two months. The ripple effect of this can be seen in a number of areas. Consumer spending and consumer confidence has dropped. Corporate profits are expected to take a hit over the next 12 months. The psyche of the average household has had a permanent shift. The demand for commercial office space is expected to drop by 1 billion square feet in 2021.

The effects of working remote

Nearly every company in the United States is being forced to suddenly send their workforce remote. This exposed some weaknesses but also helped realize some strengths. A major discovery most companies have made is the advances in video confrence technology. Namely that software like Zoom has progressed enough that digital work environments are now a viable solution. This is a major shift from where technology was 10 years ago. Another discovery was that, surprisingly, most employees are more productive working remote. It appears that water cooler banter was a larger time suck than anyone had realized.

Working remote is here to stay

The savings

According to recent polls 90% of the US workforce like the idea of working remote at least part of the week. This means not only are employees more productive, but they are happier as well. Cost savings is probably the largest reason that working remote will be a permanent change. A recent study showed that on average US companies save $11,000 per year for every employee working remote.

What remote and semi-remote will look like

According to GWA 30% of the workforce will be working from home by the end of 2021 with that number to grow rapidly through 2025. The evolving model appears to be office space that is approximately 70% smaller. These new offices are designed to be shared spaces. Departments would rotate 1-2 days in the office while working the remainder of the week from home. We still don’t know all of the effects this will have on the economy as a whole. We do know however, some of the ways this will affect marketing within the next 12 months.

How remote working will effect marketing

The US population working from home three to four days a week will cause a ground shift in the time people spend in their homes. When removing the time you spend sleeping, there will be an average increase of time spent at home of 71%. This will drive an increase in desire to do things outside of the home. This increase in outside activity will decrease time spent watchin traditional TV. Time spent in front of the Television as a group has been on the decline for the last five years already. This will also result in an increase of the portion that family budget alots on outside activities. These two factors should lead to an increase in the volume and response rates of direct to household marketing. 

The adjustment to how companies procure things

The next major shift we will see is the need for all of a company’s resource materials to be stored in one place. These resources directly tied to the ability to procure and ship or print and mail. No longer will a Marketing Director be able to walk into their designer’s office and go through revisions or ask for specific design files. It will no longer be efficient for the office manager to be in charge of ordering all staff items and have them shipped to the office. It won’t make sense for Franchise Marketing directors to run mass one size fits all campaigns for store owners.

The entire market will shift to a model of independence and efficiency. The printers who first adopt W2P systems that can store, fully edit, demo build, proof and pay for campaigns will totally lock out their competitors. Having an all in one system that gives every user a totally customized and fully online order experience will rapidly become a requirement and not an option.

How Covid will change printing

The change in turn time

The upside of this for manufacturers is that these systems bring an efficiency and cost savings that wasn’t even possible five years ago. With the right system all customer interactions can be moved online. Thus cutting down on the need for a large CSR team. Since the entire ordering process happens automatically on the user side production gets to start at proofs approved, list sort completed and payment received. As a result the average time line gets cut down by three to four business days.

Positive cash flow

The biggest benefit to manufacturers from integrating these systems is cash flow. As long as the right system is chosen that can correctly calculate an entire project cost. Then add it into the cart and process payment through CC or E-check, the vast majority of customers will pay up front for their products. Consumers have become accustomed to paying immediately when ordering online. So as long as you keep the entire process online, they won’t even question it.

The need to do it now

The need to transition to an online form of ordering is quickly becoming an absolute requirement. Although an upfront cost, if the right system is implemented it can greatly reduce overhead. Right now it is still a choice of whether to implement a new system. Soon however it won’t be and not long after that it will be too late.