Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Photo Stamps

I'm not entirely sure how I would up on the Stamps.com mailing list, but they have sent me 2 e-mails about their new Photo service.  In short:  Apparently Stamps.com will now allow me to my own personal picture on a stamp.  I'm not entirely sure how that's useful to me; I hardly even look to see if letters are addressed to me before I open them, but I do know some people who care about these kinds of things.

Here are the economics of a regular $0.37 stamp:

  • Shipping and handling of $2.95 per order regardless of the order size (it takes 4-7 business days for you to receive the order).
  • Minimum order of one sheet; each sheet has 20 stamps.
  • One sheet costs $16.99 or $0.84 per stamp.

For this example, assume you order one sheet of $0.37 stamps.  With shipping and handling the cost per stamp is $0.99, which is about a 275% mark-up over the original price of a regular $0.37.

I'm sure that this service will be huge with certain people.  I do have to respect a business model that imposes a 275% premium mark-up; I truly hope that they are successful.

Are we looking at a paradigm shift here?  Are we moving away from the logos on envelopes to the logos on stamps?  Will the postal service use a different cancellation method on these stamps so that they are not maimed and can be saved as a memento?  Can you put your return address information on the stamp (it would pretty cool if it was encoded within the barcode so that if the envelope were returned the system would know exactly where to route it)?  Could you put the address of the person you were sending something to on the stamp and stick the stamp to the middle of the envelope?

There really seems to be no good reason why all of us couldn't print these ourselves at home with our own color inkjet printers.  I would imagine that Stamps.com will be introducing software that allows you to do that sometime soon.

1 comment:

fouro said...

Hah!

Cool find, Ross.

Now, when can I print my own negotiable money with Alice Cooper's face on it? I'll pay top dolla!