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Kinderpostzegels and the digital world

More than 160,000 children took to the streets for the Kinderpostzegelactie 2019 (Children’s Stamp Action 2019). Since 2017, children can use a mobile application for the action, but the digital world is ever moving. That’s why this year we decided to further develop the mobile application, and that requires a great deal of time and energy.

Previously, children would go door to door with a form and envelope. The customer filled in the form, the child collected the money in the envelope, and after a couple weeks they would deliver the ordered products to the customer. A lot has changed since that time and Kinderpostzegels has undergone a serious digital transformation.

With such serious digital undertaking, various matters need to be concidered. For example, how do you send 160,000 children into the street each with a mobile device? Buying 160,000 devices is financially impractical. And how do we ensure synchronization between the mobile device and the other systems? At this time, people expect that payment can be made immediately when ordering, and the application cannot be difficult to use for children aged 10-12. These and other questions made Kinderpostzegels decide to ask for help.

Digital platform
In 2017, was asked to help digitize the process from the order creation to the order delivery. In collaboration with a number of other software suppliers, has established a platform that makes a digital Kinderpostzegels platform possible. Bratpack was responsible for the development of the webshop, Merkle for the mobile apps, Matthat for the logistics, e-Village for the mail and sms communication, and for the architecture and construction of the platform to properly handle all systems communicating with each other.

The mobile app was further developed in 2018 and various improvements were implemented. Now, the orders that the child had collected can be synchronized at home when a connection with Wifi is made. We found that there were regular spelling and other input errors when the children entered the customer’s information. Therefore it was necessary to allow the customer to input their own information. That is why devised a method to make this possible via a QR code in the app. When the buyer scans the QR code, it goes to a form on their own mobile phone where he/she can enter their own information and can immediately complete the payment. This considerably cuts the time between placing the order and delivering the order because payment is recieved immediately.

QR method
To find out if this QR code method could actually work, we tested it by asking volenteer children and adults to use the pilot version of the app. The children asked the adults to use the QR code to place test orders. A beautiful surprise was the children unexpectedly explaining the QR process to the adults. A good example that also fits in with the objectives of Kinderpostzegels. After this successful test phase, the final decision was to go live with QR codes.

Control lab
Finally, everyone and everything was ready. The passionate employees of Kinderpostzegels Netherlands Foundation took their place in the control lab specially set up for this promotion. The control lab is the help center where problems and questions were resolved and answered via e-mail, telephone, and social media. A number of software specialists were also present from the software suppliers in order to monitor the systems. They were also prepared to solve any problems on the spot.

Kick off 

It was an exciting and beautiful moment when Wednesday 25 September, at 12:00 the Kinderpostzegelactie 2019 kicked off. Dozens of orders per second poured into the platform. On this Wednesday afternoon, around 75,000 orders were processed in the platform.

QR method well received

At the end of the first day, the QR code was used for 53 percent of the orders. This was much higher than expected. The change in the Kinderpostzegel sales process has therefore been very well received.

Of course, ordering on paper is still the major bulk of orders. Schools, parents, and/or children may not want use an app and for some buyers at the door, paper feels more familiar. That will probably change more in the future, but the Kinderpostzegels Foundation is ready for a future in technology. We are proud that we can help them acheve this technological goal. 

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