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What does SoPost Mean for the Future of Mail Delivery?

How many times have you ordered some­thing online, only to miss the delivery?

Accord­ing to the founders of the lat­est app on the block, SoPost, failed first-time deliv­er­ies have direct costs of almost £1 bil­lion in the UK alone and this issue is some­thing the Lon­don-based start up is hop­ing to address, if you’ll par­don the pun.

This lat­est app is some­thing those on the look­out for media jobs won’t want to be with­out – after all, you don’t want to miss that inter­view date or job offer.

By map­ping social IDs like Twit­ter han­dles, Face­book names, phone num­bers and email address­es SoPost aims to link these with phys­i­cal address­es so pack­ages will always find you, whether you’re at work, at home, or at Mom’s. The ser­vice can also be used to send gifts to friends using noth­ing more than a Twit­ter user­name or a Face­book ID.

What is it Exactly?

SoPost founder Jonathan Gru­bin explains: “An address should be where you are, or where you want things to be sent, rather than the last post­code some­body has for you.

“SoPost is about turn­ing the things that we know and that rarely change – like our social IDs and email address­es – into our phys­i­cal loca­tions, cre­at­ing almost a proxy for postal address­es in the process.”

The idea is that postal address­es need no longer be fixed and soli­tary. By tap­ping into the SoPost tech you might tell the ser­vice that your Face­book name links to home as this is where you post your sta­tus updates, where­as your Twit­ter han­dle might be hooked up to your work address as you have to tweet as part of your job. You get the idea.

You can even link PO or lock­er box­es, College’s or any­where else that’s will­ing to receive your mail. Imag­ine that? Your DVD’s arriv­ing at your favorite cof­fee shop where you always check your email on a Sat­ur­day morn­ing. Rather than hunt­ing down missed deliv­er­ies, your mail is fol­low­ing you.

How Does it Plan to Monetize?

Cur­rent­ly SoPost takes care of ful­fil­ment, but when it embarks on stage two and achieves inte­gra­tion with e‑commerce part­ners it will con­trol the data and will dis­close it only for the pur­pose of ful­fil­ment and will enforce strict rules on what they can do with that data.

The com­pa­ny has also estab­lished some pret­ty cool part­ner­ships with oth­er online play­ers. For exam­ple the Play it Again Sam record label will be giv­ing CDs away to any­one who tweets with their cam­paign hash­tag. Guess who’ll be tak­ing care of the ful­fil­ment..? Send­Grid will be using SoPost to dis­trib­ute gifts to its part­ners and We Are Tea is tar­get­ing blog­gers and oth­er influ­encers with a sam­ple give­away. These com­pa­nies will be pay­ing for SoPost’s ser­vices because any­one who has infor­ma­tion has some­thing valu­able. Some­thing they can sell.

Can it Make Money?

The SoPost strat­e­gy relies heav­i­ly on get­ting con­sumers onboard and hand­ing over their details – they only weapon they will real­ly have in their armory. Unfor­tu­nate­ly the one big flaw in the plan might be that many peo­ple don’t know where they’re going to be each Sat­ur­day morn­ing for exam­ple. Tech means peo­ple are increas­ing­ly mobile and they like it that way. So it may be that SoPost have cre­at­ed a solu­tion to a prob­lem that doesn’t real­ly exist.

Peo­ple still order online even when they know they may not be around to take deliv­ery of their items, and if they need some­thing in a hur­ry they pay extra for next day deliv­ery. Or they go to a store. With an expect­ed seed round expect­ed to raise total of around £100K SoPost has not set its aspi­ra­tions too high. If it starts small and grows slow­ly it may just get there as the lure of typ­ing in a name rather than a whole address cer­tain­ly does sound convenient.

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