In October 2022, An Post launched the world’s first digital stamp with notification. For the first time ever, people in Ireland could buy a digital stamp and send a letter, card or large envelope anywhere within the Republic of Ireland when and where they chose. It’s a huge step forward for An Post as it continues its digital transformation journey and epitomises An Post’s mission to become the postal service for people today; a postal service that responds to rising customer demand for digital products and services.
The origins of the digital stamp
As its digital partner, All human has worked with An Post for several years. Together we are always looking for ways to deliver (pun intended) a more modern postal service. One of our first collaborations, Click & Post, enables customers to calculate the cost of sending their mail, buying the label online and then printing the label and dropping it off at the post office. During the numerous sessions we held as we worked on this product, a digital stamp was one of the options raised to accompany the online label service, and was then developed over the following years. It was an idea that grew stronger during the pandemic. COVID lockdowns and restrictions had a massive impact on access to services. This lack of availability was an issue that was always there when we discussed ways to leverage digital to improve the lives of people and expand services.
Introducing the An Post Digital Stamp
The world’s first digital stamp with notification
Historically the only way to send a letter or card required customers to either have a stamp at hand or make a trip to the post office to purchase one. That is no longer the case. Now with a digital stamp customers can send letters and postcards at any time from anywhere in Ireland.
To buy a digital stamp a customer simply downloads the An Post app on their phone and follows the steps. Once they have made the payment, they receive a 12-digit unique alpha-numeric code, which they write onto their envelope or postcard where a traditional stamp would go. After it is dropped into a post box, An Post's letter sorting technology recognises it and processes it for delivery.
Once purchased, you receive a 12-digit unique alpha-numeric code
When the letter or card reaches its final destination, i.e. the addressee, the customer receives a delivery notification via email, SMS or app notification. This confirmation of delivery is the first time any country has launched a digital stamp where customers can track the delivery status.
All human and the Digital Stamp
Once we knew that together with An Post and other partners we wanted to develop a digital stamp, we began in earnest to conduct ample research and testing. Early on, we completed multiple tests of the user journey and built examples based on real users. This gave us tons of feedback and valuable insights that we then applied to refine both the design and the experience of the app.
We also created prototypes to simulate real-world usage - after all a product is only as successful as how much it is used. If the final design wasn’t easy to use it was not going to perform well. The power of the prototype allowed us to identify potential pain points which we could then resolve and improve. Before handing over the final design, our cross-functional teams, which brought together design, tech and quality assurance experts, worked hand-in-hand to ensure alignment and optimal user experience.
Ireland offers the world’s first digital stamp with notification
The tech behind the Digital Stamp
Part of its beauty is its simplicity. To buy or store a digital stamp, customers simply have to download the An Post app which is available for iOS and Android mobile phones. There are multiple payment options - Apple Pay, Google Pay, and credit or debit cards. In addition, having bought a digital stamp, customers have a record of their digital stamp collection plus a history of any digital stamps they’ve sent.
Right now, digital stamps are limited to sending letters, postcards and large envelopes within the Republic of Ireland only, but our hope is that in the future the technology will also be rolled out for packages and international mail.
Alan Murphy7 mins
Alan Murphy 6 mins
John O'Dowd 6 mins