Today we will be covering a USPS concept that is very well known and used by residents, and that has really transformed the way we manage mail in the 21st century. Informed Delivery is being used by more & more households, and here at US Global Mail, we thought doing a thorough review of this USPS service, would be helpful.
So here we go…
What Is Informed Delivery?
USPS Informed Delivery is an online system that enables you to have early access to your incoming mail, enter any delivery details, track parcels and schedule re-delivery attempts. At present, businesses aren’t permitted to use the service; only residential addresses can benefit from it.
Before you get too excited, however, you will have to find out whether or not your zip code is eligible to use this feature. To do this, you’ll have to go to the United States Postal Service website and upload a proof of address, ID document (passport, driving license or government-issued ID card) and already possess a USPS account. The main mission of this feature is to allow you to remotely preview your upcoming mail via a smartphone, tablet or computer before you physically receive it. Thus, you can quickly and easily keep on top of your mail and update delivery details if needed.
Does Informed Delivery Show All Mail?
Once your letter enters the USPS Mail and Distribution center, you will be sent an email notification with a black and white picture of the exterior. Typically, magazines, catalogs and packages won’t be scanned — only those that are the size of a normal letter will be processed through the Informed Delivery service.
Having said this, you will be sent information such as tracking numbers, delivery date and the sender of any packages that you receive. The only kicker is that there won’t be an image to go along with it. Only the first ten letter pictures will be sent via email notifications. To find the rest, you will have to log in to the USPS app or online platform and take a look at your Informed Delivery dashboard. All scanned images will be present on the aforementioned dashboard for a week. Any package updates will be shown for 15 days. After these periods, they will automatically be removed. Don’t worry, no one is going to open your mail. You simply get early access to the exterior so you can stay up to date with any mail you are sent while you’re travelling.
How to Sign Up For USPS Informed Delivery
Signing up for the USPS Informed Delivery service can be relatively tricky (especially if you don’t already have a personal account with the United States Postal Service). Thankfully, this guide will walk you through everything step by step.
Navigate to the Informed Delivery website and click the “Sign Up for Free” button.
Type in your address to see whether or not you live in an area that is supported by Informed Delivery. If your address is accepted, all you will have to do is read the terms and conditions, tick the box and click on “Continue”. However, if it is not accepted, then you can quit your application and come back another time. Although, you can still create a USPS account from here if you would like to. Bear in mind that, if you live in an apartment block, you will have to select your specific address from a drop-down menu.
Then, you will be taken to the account creation window. Here, you will have to enter a username, password, answers to security questions and your contact details. After this, read the privacy statement and click on “Continue”.
Now you will be required to verify your identity. You can do this through your smartphone or by mail.
Mobile Verification Method
This method is incredibly simple:
- Enter your mobile number.
- Receive a one-time code by text message.
- Enter this code into the space provided.
Mail Verification Method
If you choose this method, you will have to:
- Wait for your invitation to arrive at your address.
- Follow the instructions inside the letter.
Once your identity has been verified, a confirmation page will come up. You can either click “Go to Dashboard” or wait to be automatically redirected.
Well done! You have made it through the application process and can now remotely preview your mail and manage parcels!
Everything You Can Do In The USPS Informed Delivery App and Online Dashboard
Set Up Email Notifications
When you are on the Informed Delivery dashboard, click on the “Settings” option. Choose the email digest option so you don’t have to worry about missing a notification ever again. Plus, you can update your notifications for package deliveries and status notices too. It might take a little while for the United States Postal Service to activate this feature on your account. Usually, you will be receiving them within three working days. Sometimes, it can take up to a week.
Enrol For USPS Electronic Signature Online (eSOL)
From the settings section of your dashboard, you can apply for USPS Electronic Signature Online so you can digitally sign for incoming packages that meet one or more of the following requirements:
- Insured for over $500
- Requires Signature Confirmation
- Shipped via Priority Mail Express
Add Delivery Instructions for a Package
To provide delivery instructions, navigate to the “Package” tab. Then, click on “Add USPS Delivery Instructions” and click on the right option from the drop-down menu. Of course, if the parcel fits in your mailbox, these special instructions will be overruled. Bear in mind that you can’t add this for every mailpiece. You might not be able to add USPS Delivery Instructions if it’s:
- insured for over $500
- needs a signature
- marked for “Collect on Delivery”
- a Registered Mail item
- being held for address requesting
- been delivered or out for delivery
- a “hold for pickup” action was placed
- marked as intercepted
- marked as non-deliverable
From the app or dashboard, you can schedule the time and date for the delivery man to redeliver your parcel. Sometimes, this option won’t be available but this depends on your package’s circumstances.
View Package Details
From the dashboard, you can take a look at the details of all of your packages. Navigate to the “Packages” tab and you will see a list of all of your incoming and delivered parcels. Tap on the blue arrow beside each entry to see the scan history, schedule redelivery option or leave delivery instructions.
See Previews of Letter-Sized Mail
Of course, the main thing is all the image previews of your letters! From here, you can keep on top of your deliveries to make sure you never miss an important notice ever again.
Pros of USPS Informed Delivery
Prompt Email Notifications
If you sign up for USPS Informed Delivery service, you will be doing it for a reason. Typically, you will need this feature if you go for extended periods without being able to immediately get to your mail. With this in mind, it is great that USPS send their daily email notifications no later than 7:45 in the morning. This gives you plenty of time to reply to any urgent incoming letters and packages.
Clear and Legible Pictures
The pictures that the United States Postal Service send to you as part of this service are incredibly easy to read and show all the relevant recipient information. Of course, if you live on your own it won’t matter so much if you can’t spot the recipient’s details, but for those households with multiple members, this is fantastic.
Zoom In Function
Moreover, you can zoom in on these pictures so you can see everything in a crystal clear light. Alongside this, you can go onto the online platform and let USPS know if you didn’t receive a letter or package that you were sent a preview for.
Great for Direct Mail Marketers
Besides the benefits it brings to you as the receiver, it also gives direct mail marketers new hope. How? Well, since you are almost forced to pay more attention to what you receive in the mail, you have to check out the images of all direct marketing material. It has been proven that people who use this USPS feature are paying far more attention to mail they would have traditionally just thrown away.
Businesses Can Make Use of Timelines
Plus, now businesses are tapping into timelines — i.e. when USPS send out their email notifications — and are utilizing that so their marketing letters and brochures show up at prime times.
Ridealong Campaign Implementation
The United States Postal Service has created a “ridealong campaign” service for businesses to utilize and make the most out of their direct mail material. Basically, USPS requires that any company’s Informed Delivery campaigns include a full-color, interactive banner that goes along with the scanned mail picture. The goal here is to enhance the call-to-action and promote the objective of the mail piece. However, this feature is so new that not many people have experienced it as of yet.
Hopes of Automatic Ridealong Campaign Feature
Finally, even though these aforementioned ridealong campaigns still need to be manually inputted by the company, Informed Delivery feature updates are going to implement an automatic service. Businesses will even be able to put together campaigns across multiple pieces.
Cons of USPS Informed Delivery
Can’t Scan All Envelope Types
The first downfall of USPS Informed Delivery feature is that some envelope formats are impossible to read. What do we mean by this? Take companies who have dark colored envelopes along with dark colored foil stamping, for example. The scanners used are not powerful enough to pick up the foil stamping and make it legible. So, unless the company provides one of those ridealong campaigns, you won’t be able to make sense of the image.
Not Available For P.O. Boxes
Another negative aspect has to do with P.O. Boxes. At present, the service does not stretch to helping those who have P.O. Boxes. But, why would you need a P.O. Box? Well, if you travel a lot, it is a great place to forward all of your mail to while you’re away so it doesn’t get lost. Hopefully, they will work on this since physically going to check a P.O. Box can be a pain.
Not Yet Conducive With Postcards
If you are someone who receives a lot of postcards, you may be pretty disappointed with the Informed Delivery feature. Although it does scan these types of letters, you can only see one side of them on the picture preview. The barcode side is the only part that will be seen on your online portal, unfortunately.
Receive Previews of Mail Meant for Previous House Owner
Lastly, for those who have just moved house, you might receive previews of mail that is for the previous owners and not you. This can get frustrating but it’s an inevitable evil. However, the USPS Informed Delivery feature should have a “this isn’t for me” option when this does occur. Maybe they could even link this with the change of address form people fill out when they move — who knows?
An Even Better Alternative
While USPS Informed Delivery service works and is great for those who are just getting into the whole remote-tracking business, there is an easier way to take control of your mail. By signing up with us at US Global Mail, you can create a virtual mailbox and truly feel like you’re living in the future!
Not only do you receive images of your letter-sized mail like with the USPS Informed Delivery feature, but you also get pictures of your parcels too. Plus, with our digital mailboxes, you can let us know whether you want us to shred, deposit or ship your letters and packages so you really do have complete control over everything.
Our experienced mail room staff are the best of the best so you can rest easy with the knowledge that all your letters are being well and truly taken care of. Owning a virtual mailbox with US Global Mail is a completely worry-free way to manage your deliverables. It has never been easier to deal with your snail mail life than it is now! For any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to us, or visit our help center.