QuantumMail Sales Leap With Digital Tech

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Digital printing technology has enabled QuantumMail.com to produce customized postcard mailers, designed by its clients using an online interface, for the real estate and other home-related industries, the company said this week.

The Austin, TX, turnkey direct mail provider credits the technology with helping it to more than double its sales in 2002, $10 million this year compared with $3.5 million in 2001, and to increase its mail volume to 15 million from an annual average of 7 million.

The company started as a provider of personalized postcards for use by small-business real estate agencies looking for leads on homeowners interested in selling their homes. Now QuantumMail serves major real estate franchises and companies including Prudential Real Estate, RE/MAX, GMAC Real Estate, Keller Williams Realty and Weichert as well as home-improvement contractors.

QuantumMail uses Xerox Docucolor 6060 and Docucolor 2060 digital presses to produced personalized 8.5-by-5.5-inch postcards for its real estate clients, said Freddie Baird, vice president of operations for QuantamMail.com. Despite its volume more than doubling in less than a year, the company has maintained a work force of about 40 employees.

Going Web-based eliminated the need for a large data-entry department to enable personalization, Baird said. Most of the staff increases have come in the sorting staff, which still must do much of its work manually.

Before digitization, QuantumMail fulfilled orders for personalized postcards by printing generic shell pieces using offset printing presses and running the shells through a digital press to add personalized data. Customers could choose from only about 50 stock designs for their postcards.

Now, customers can select from thousands of stock designs. For an additional 8 cents per piece, customers can use their own designs.

Digital technology also has radically changed the ordering process for QuantumMail clients. Baird recalled that when he started at the company four years ago, clients filled out forms and faxed them in to QuantumMail to start their order.

Now, more than 90 percent of QuantumMail's orders occur online, compared with about 40 percent last year. Online, customers can choose designs or upload their own, upload pictures and write text for their postcards.

Some customers take digital pictures of houses they have sold recently and use them on the postcards, Baird said. Customers do their own proofing, so all QuantumMail has to do is fulfill the order.

Gone are the days of trading proofs back and forth between the customer and the print shop and phoning in corrections, Baird said. QuantumMail can turn around an order in the next business day, and the company sends 75,000 to 100,000 pieces of mail on average to the post office daily.

"It's quick and easy," Baird said of the online ordering. "They see everything they're doing, so it gives them a measure of control."

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