Electronic Delivery: What's Your Adoption Rate?

edeliveryFor many years, the number one question asked by many of my customers has been: “from your experience, what percentage of customers are “opting in” to electronic delivery”? Everyone holds their breath in anticipation that their company may fall well below the national average. For the moment, let’s hold that magic number in suspense.

There are many factors which drive the adoption rate of electronic delivery of transactional documents (bills, statements, correspondence) which convey timely information and most times require timely action.

The many industries which rely on critical information delivery as part of their ecosystem, have been trying to forecast the adoption rate and eventual conversion of their communications to something other than hardcopy. Again, they ask, “what is the magic number which says the tipping point has arrived?”

Most argue that the most common tipping point is when a trend or condition passes 50% adoption rate, therefore at least one half of the customers prefer or adopt one type of information delivery over another. Some even argue that it isn’t truly adopted unless at least 60% have signed up. Up to this point, most of my customers have not crossed that tipping point. However, there are indications, that the adoption rate of alternative distribution methods may reach that magic number sooner than later.

Up until the last few years, the most common alternative delivery alternative to hardcopy was a hyperlink to a website or portal. The access was normally a secure login from a desktop or laptop computer.

However, the recent (last five years) phenomenon of smart phones and proliferation of tablet devices has changed and added many different delivery options for critical information. For example, who would have thought you could use your phone to do personal banking and to make a deposit by taking a picture of the front and back of a check?

So, back to the original question about adoption rates of alternative delivery methods for important and critical documents and information. The adoption rate is driven by the industry as well as the ability to integrate multiple delivery options into a company’s ecosystem and infrastructure. In some cases the adoption can be as low as 12% and in some industries and applications can exceed 25%. Some trend analysis can be derived by the USPS’ published forecasts of continuing decline of first class mail volumes.

One can argue that the conditions for an acceleration in adoption rates and reaching that tipping point may be closer than you think.  Have you added incentives for electronic adoption?  Do you see an acceleration of electronic adoption as a result of the smartphone/tablet revolution of the past few years?  Discuss in the comments below!