Madison Advisors’ tracking of customer electronic adoption indicates that conversion rates have stalled out. Currently the aggregate rate hovers in the low double digit percentages depending on industry and document type. Yup, that’s right, all the free Wi-Fi hot spots, iPads, smart phones, Prius raffles, tree give a-ways, and one time discounts in the last 10 years has barely made a dent in our consumer paper consumption. While the companies that send that mail have an obvious incentive to not mail you your bill or statement, the value for consumers has been elusive. That CAN change with a digital mailbox – a single, secure, convenient and permanent place to archive all consumer documents that now clutter our lives.
Certainly there will be some anxiety, there always is with new, transformative shifts. Do you remember the first time you reluctantly put your credit card number into the computer for a purchase? What a leap of faith that took. Chances are you conducted that same transaction process multiple times this past December alone. As we saw with online purchases, there are ways to make those documents secure, or AS secure as they are reported today within the walls of the companies that store them. Our risk would be to discredit this solution due to unwarranted concerns that represent no incremental exposure or risk. It’s not difficult to find companies with significant data breaches daily, either social security, credit card, or account numbers. Today’s “security theater” deployed by most firms should not represent the high water mark necessary for success of this new delivery alternative.
While there is money to be saved by firms not mailing you your bill or statement, they might not be as excited about this new digital mailbox solution as you are. Why? The answer is the potential disintermediation of those firms from your online life. Those firms are afraid they could be made irrelevant in the digital frontier if they allow you to get their/your data somewhere other than THEIR website, where they can control what you see, the user experience, maybe some ad spend, and your information access. Depending on the market, their concern is legitimate. Where will people choose to view their bank statement, at the digital mailbox, or at the bank’s website while transferring funds? We’d argue that it’s both, as it is today. And let’s ensure we inform the firms we do business with that this is how we’d prefer to receive our documents and information. It doesn’t have to be either or, but should be both. Plus, there is a way to support both and NOT store it twice, thereby reducing the bank’s storage costs!
So embrace the brave new world, and let your document providers know that you want a simpler solution – a single, secure, convenient and permanent place to archive all consumer documents.