Post Office to Email 'Sneak Peek' at Mail Before It Arrives

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Row of traditional US mail (aka post) or letter boxes, Texas, US
By Karla Bowsher

The U.S. Postal Service is trying to bridge the gap between physical mail and email.

The struggling federal agency is testing out "Real Mail Notification," a program that offers customers a daily email about what will be in their snail mail before the mail actually reaches the physical mailbox.

A pilot was undertaken in Northern Virginia, and a pilot in New York City is the next step, according to Postmaster General Megan Brennan.

Brennan described the service in May when she gave the keynote speech at the National Postal Forum, the annual mailing industry trade show:

Imagine if you got an alert every day saying what time your mail would be delivered and what's being delivered that day.

Everyone has their daily digital routine -- we want to elevate the role of mail by being part of that daily experience.

Among customers included in the Northern Virginia pilot, 9 out of 10 checked their mobile devices to see what would be arriving in their mail every day, Brennan said.

Brennan contends that the mailing industry has opportunities to take advantage of today's digital and mobile technology.

"We've become a device-oriented culture, with laptops, tablets, smartphones and now even watches providing digital and mobile experiences in every aspect of our lives. The good news is that our industry has a big role to play in that digital future."

Would you use Real Mail Notification if it became available in your area? Share your thoughts on this program below or on our Facebook page.

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