In 1970, when Click2Mail’s founder and CEO, Lee Garvey, was 18 years old and fresh out of high school, he started his postal career as a letter carrier. As Mr. Garvey will tell you himself, he soon came to embrace the concept of postal mail as a universal communications system. In other words, he became a mail nerd.
Two years later Mr. Garvey, an avid futurologist, sensed a foreshadowing for the postal industry and wrote up an employee suggestion form for the higher-powers at the United States Postal Service with the subject line:
“The ‘Unplanned Obsolescence’ of the Postal Service, It’s Implications, and the Avoidance Of”
In his 1972 suggestion, Mr. Garvey described the inevitable impact digital technology would eventually have on postal organizations worldwide. He wrote, “…[In the future] the bulk of business communications and advertising will use an electronic communications system as widespread as telephone service.” Unknowingly foretelling the Internet revolution, he concluded, “The U.S. Postal Service should not and must not be left behind.”
For the next 25 years, Mr. Garvey served in many other capacities at the USPS, from retail services and acting postmaster to serving on an elite innovation team tasked with discovering and exploring digital opportunities for the Postal Service.
In 1998, he and a team of developers beta-launched a USPS service called NetPost, an electronic system that used the Internet to receive digital documents from small businesses and deliver them as physical mail within 48 hours. NetPost launched nationally in the year 2000 as a key component of the Post Office Online on USPS.com.
In early 2000, Mr. Garvey left the USPS for Silicon Valley and worked to promote a similar mailing system for a VC-backed startup, E-Letter. Within months the Internet bubble burst, and he was let go and the startup failed.
At this point, Mr. Garvey was presented with a fork in the road: rejoin the USPS or strike out as an entrepreneur.
Around the same time, the USPS started winding down its tangential digital and ecommerce initiatives. Jack Potter, a career USPS employee was appointed as Postmaster General and given the mandate to refocus the organization, staying away from anything digital. Essentially: cut everything not related to pure, traditional mail delivery.
Despite its market success, NetPost was flagged to be discontinued in late 2003. At the eleventh hour, USPS put out a limited solicitation to the program participants capable of continuing commercial operation of NetPost services to the tens of thousands of customers then using it.
Mr. Garvey knew he needed to act fast if he wanted to keep NetPost alive. He quickly partnered with a printing company and a technology company and in 2003 formed the beginnings of his own company — PosteDigital.
Despite the fading support of the USPS and the divided interests of his new partners, his company — still operating the service exclusively for the USPS under the name NetPost — thrived.
One of the breakthroughs was when the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) abandoned their mail-by-hand process that took a week to send a stack of mail and plugged directly into Mr. Garvey’s automated next-day fulfillment system.
Over the next three years, Mr. Garvey bought out his partners, who were more concerned about profit and technology than postal mail innovation.
Then, in 2006, his company’s sole source of customers, the USPS, terminated its branding relationships with affiliate services and required the NetPost brand association to be dropped. Mr. Garvey had two months to find a new brand name for the NetPost service. Thus, Click2Mail was born.
The 2008 Recession hit right as Click2Mail tore up its contract with its technology partner to redesign its core systems. Expenses skyrocketed. Revenue plummeted. But now the company was free to rebuild.
Fortunately, Click2Mail had built up a solid base of loyal customers, including large firms like The Hartford and Microsoft plus many thousands of small organizations like IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) chapters nationwide. Unlike other companies that targeted big clients and made 80% of their business from 20% of their clients, Mr. Garvey served small to mid-sized customers so that if one disappeared, it didn’t rock the boat.
With the addition of several key team members, Click2Mail launched Mailing Online Pro, a revamped, cloud-based software as a service (SaaS). At this point, Click2Mail’s strategy underwent a significant transformation as it emerged out of the sunken U.S. economy.
Under the new Mailing Online Pro system, the company built digital tools for creating and sending postal mail from the desktop or the cloud. Each tool used the core system’s capabilities but provided different ways to access and use them for specific purposes.
Today, customers use Click2Mail to send all types of mail in a variety of methods. These include:
- APIs — integrate Click2Mail to enable the output of mail from your own applications
- Zapier — set up event-triggered mailing campaigns by daisy-chaining your apps
- MailJack+ — automatically mail pre-addressed PDFs from office automation
- Google Docs Add-on — send mail directly from within Google Docs
- Microsoft Office Add-in — send mail directly from within Microsoft Word
- Email-to-Mail — use email to send mail the next day
- EasyLetterSender — create and send a letter or postcard from any web browser
- Click2EDDM — create and send marketing mail to every mailbox in a neighborhood
The future for Click2Mail holds great promise for three reasons:
- As an independent, debt-free, and self-sufficient company, Click2Mail’s only obligation is to its customers. There are no venture capitalists or controlling investors to whom Mr. Garvey and his team need to report. The customer is all that matters.
- The engineers and strategists of Click2Mail, a.k.a. the “Mail Nerds”, have developed the most comprehensive and flexible digital mailing system in the world. And they’ve made the platform available to any size of business, big or small.
- Click2Mail is poised for growth. How the world uses postal mail is changing rapidly. Physical mail is still very effective, but the old way of sending it — manual mailing — is going away, replaced by the new way of mailing online.
As technology advances, Click2Mail adapts its postal mail tools to leverage digital innovations.
Mr. Garvey and his team are already working on integrating the USPS’s new Informed Delivery™ into their system. Informed Delivery offers higher visibility to mailers by having interactive images of mailpieces emailed to recipients before their daily mail delivery.
Ever since the day he turned in the employee suggestion, Mr. Garvey has had a vision of using digital technology to innovate the mail industry. Through success and failure and lots of stories, he’s happy to say that today, hundreds of thousands of people use Click2Mail to send mail for as little as $0.43, including printing and postage, with just a few clicks.
No more printing, stuffing envelopes, or running to the post office. Whether it’s one postcard or thousands of letters, he and his team want to help you find more time in your day by making physical mail easy.
Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoy using Click2Mail.