St Ives to provide new Royal Mail print services


St Ives has begun production for Royal Mail’s two newly launched online print services for small businesses and consumers.

Announced in Royal Mail’s year-end results and officially launched at the end of last month, Swapshots marks the postal service’s first foray into consumer apps while MailShotMaker is an improved version of its existing SME-targeted online marketing service.

Both services have been developed by London-based digital agency Hugo & Cat, alongside Royal Mail’s digital section, with the print element being outsourced to St Ives rather than being carried out by Romec, the Royal Mail-owed facilities management, manufacturing and printing facility in Swindon.

A Royal Mail representative said: “Royal Mail uses St Ives to provide managed service provision for complex, colour print production services such as glossy magazines and brochures. We draw on Romec’s expertise to produce a range of customer communications such as important forms and notices.”

The free Swapshots app, which Royal Mail says aims to capture growth in the printed image market, allows users to print, personalise and post photos directly from their mobile device and promises delivery (by Royal Mail) to a recipient within three days. 

Users can download the app for free from Google Play or the App Store, with each image costing 85p to print and post. Cleverly the app allows users to send photos to contacts in their mobile device without knowing their addresses by using its ‘Claim a Swapshot’ function. This sends a notification to the recipient who can then accept and enter their address if they wish.

Charlie Herbert, multichannel customer experience director at Royal Mail, said: “It’s well-known that e-commerce has driven growth in UK parcel delivery. It’s less well-understood that growth in digital photos is helping to sustain the popularity of the printed image. Royal Mail is uniquely positioned to bring these two elements together."

MailshotMaker, meanwhile, is a new service that builds on Royal Mail’s 2008 launched Mailshots Online, allowing business owners to design mailshot campaigns using an online tool and send them in one of three formats - A5 postcard, A4 letter or a sealed-mailer. 

A key improvement in the service is the ability for customers to access the Royal Mail database to source prospects and create a mailing list. Other improvements include more than 100 free images to add to a range of templates, a free sample per mailshot and embedded advice on how to create a successful mailshot campaign.

Royal Mail MarketReach managing director, Jonathan Harman, said: “MailshotMaker is made for business people, be they the company owner or a marketing executive, who want a simple, fast and affordable solution to drive a positive response among consumers. It is designed to help businesses bring more customers through the door and ultimately generate more sales.”

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