Paper VS Electronic Invoices

Meet the writer: Karen Pieper

Hi, I'm Karen! I've been in the industry for 21 years and can't wait to share my perspective on all things direct mail. I'm currently the Digital Marketing Manager at Letter Jacket Envelopes and deal with tasks from managing the website, facilitating conversations with customers, and much more!

Paper VS electronic invoices who really wins? As many companies are trying to get rid of paper in favor of new “paperless” offices, they are discovering that some things end up getting lost in translation.

What is at stake is more than mere aesthetics; it could be your actual bottom line. While hundreds of industries are touting the benefits of going paperless, one company in Denmark found out that keeping paper invoices actually saved them money.

Paper VS Electronic

Natur-Energi is a Danish company dedicated to offering energy equipment that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions. They wanted to test how much of the logic surrounding paperless practices was actually true.

Their study consisted of sending some of their customers traditional mailed paper invoices and some of their customers e-mailed invoices. They also sent up to two reminders for unpaid bills.

Over 2,800 customers were selected for this study, and their behavior was monitored through a typical two-month billing cycle. The company then assessed their data based on the overall effectiveness of either invoice method as well as the overall cost.

The Results

What Natur-Energi discovered was both shocking and perfectly expected at the same time. Customers were much more likely to promptly respond to invoices sent in the mail. They were also less likely to require a follow up notice or place a call to the company’s customer help line.

By contrast, customers who received an invoice through e-mail were 59 percent more likely to require a reminder, compared to 29 percent of direct mail customers.

After customers received their reminders, many contacted the help line to request more information. 47 percent of customers who had received an invoice through e-mail called the customer service department, while only 14.5 percent of those that had received a direct mail notice called in. Common explanations for why the e-mailed customers had late payments were that they never saw the first bill or that it was possibly sent to their spam folders.

All of these calls cost Natur-Enrgi around nine dollars each. Tallied out across the entire test subjects, the resulting costs were $5.75 per e-mail invoice and $3.25 per direct mail invoice. Keep in mind that postage rates in Denmark are higher than the US, yet direct mailing still cost them less.

Overall, paper vs electronic invoices created a 42.8 percent savings compared to e-mails.

What These Results Mean for Your Company

Translating Natur-Energi’s findings to your company does not require an expert in Danish. Customers pay more attention to direct mail notices, are more likely to pay on time and are less likely to tax your customer service department with questions.

If your company is trying to cut out paper, convince them to keep their mailed invoices. It will save everyone time and money while making the whole process go smoother.

If you are in need of bulk envelopes for invoicing, take a look at our products page. We have a variety of sizes and types to choose from, and we can also print your company’s logo directly onto the envelope for a professional look. 

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