I’ve been a subscriber of the free springwise online newsletter for a few months now and I always enjoy reading about the new business ideas that people have (if you like Dragons Den and the like, you’ll probably enjoy the newsletter). This weeks edition contained one post that I initially thought was a bit daft, but then I read more and have begun to change my mind.
Sites such as postful and the Australian l-mail offer services whereby you can email them and by giving them the physical postal address, they’ll turn your email into a letter and post it in an envelope to the specified address (read more). postful is USA only for now I think, whereas l-mail is already international.
At first I though what’s the point of that? But after being intrigued enough to read on I can see some advantages of the services. l-mail offers an international service so people in Australia for example might find it cheaper to email in the first instance in Australia and have l-mail print and post the letter over here in the UK. But who would want an actual letter? Well grandparents spring to mind. Anyone you know who would enjoy receiving a letter from you (like my two young children). Anyone without a PC. An intrepid backpacker on a gap year could email their I’m still alive but I need more money Dad, quick! request from an internet cafe in the back-of-beyond and the pc-less parents would receive the unwelcome begging letter.
Some businesses insist on hard-copy invoices, purchase orders, time-sheets, etc. so that’s a potential market (ok pc-to-fax is another option too). As these email-to-mail services allow you to incorporate both text and image any number of documents could be sent. l-mail also offer text to speech and braille too – a worthy niche. There must be quite a few niche areas to exploit in this area. The pricing varies and can be a little cheaper if you permit l-mail to include their little logo. Of course, for such services to become profitable they need the critical mass of regular users.
I suspect that this could be food for thought for one reader of this blog who was kind of on the same wave-length as these services with an idea of his own. l-mail are looking for partners I see.