The recent shift to shape-based postage has made padded mailers an expensive way to reach clients. Under the old pricing system, these mailers represented an economic packaging option by protecting contents without requiring box assembly. This former efficiency helped catapult the mailers into a $1 billion industry, accounting for roughly 2% of the US mail stream in 2006.
Today, most of these packages classify as parcels and carry a 33-cent rate increase compared to same-weight flats, the result of two new rules instituted by the US Postal Service to promote automated processing.
Since May 2006, when the USPS announced the move to shape-based pricing,we have worked with fulfillment houses and end users to minimize the impact on mailing costs.
During that time, we’ve concluded that the padded mailer has become something of a dinosaur. Sales kits, for instance, don’t need the added protection of a padded mailer, but many firms use this packaging out of habit. The 33-cent postal rate increase offers a strong incentive to search for other options.
Many companies are now turning to expansion envelopes and mailers. Constructed with strategic folds to conform to different volumes of content, these packaging options reduce the need for multiple envelope capacities. Paperboard versions combine the protection of a padded envelope in an automation-friendly design that reduces postage and fulfillment costs.
These expandable packaging options also offer greater opportunity for brand promotion. Unlike their padded counterparts, these mailers can be custom printed to promote your firm. Expansion envelopes also reduce fulfillment costs because of their compatibility with standard inserter machines, compared to padded mailers, which require manual insertion.
Six months into shape-based pricing, the era of the padded mailer is drawing to a close. Fortunately, the market already offers a versatile, cost-effective alternative: the expansion envelope.