Thursday, February 14, 2013

How Will USPS 5-Day Delivery Affect Your Online Business?

As of January 27th, USPS shipping rates went up; however, these aren't the only changes coming your way. Beginning in August, USPS will be limiting the number of shipping days from 6 days to 5. How will this affect your online business?

What is the change?

According to The New York Times, effective the week of August 5th, the following changes will be made:
  • Letter mail delivery to street addresses will only be Monday through Friday 
  • Package delivery will continue Monday through Saturday
  • Post offices will be open during regular business hours 
  • P.O. boxes will continue to receive mail on Saturdays as well 

What effect will this change have on e-commerce?

Although many feel that this move will be harmful to online retail growth, USPS does have e-commerce in mind. According to a statement released by USPS, “As consumers increasingly use and rely on delivery services — especially due to the rise of e-commerce — we can play an increasingly vital role as a delivery provider of choice, and as a driver of growth opportunities for America’s businesses.”

Only letter mail delivery will be cut on Saturdays, so customers will still receive packages. What are some other potential effects this may have on your business?
  • The new pricing and delivery schedule may change rules and shipping policies for eBay, Amazon, and other online retail outlets. 
  • Many consumers may misinterpret the "no mail delivery on Saturdays" to include packages, demanding alternative shipping options through FedEx or UPS. 
  • Businesses dealing largely with Saturday letter mail may be forced to change their strategy. 
  • Companies relying on Saturday bill pay may be forced to consider other options. 
  • Many companies may even be forced to reconsider marketing tactics (those who send direct mail, postcards, etc. on the weekends). 

How can you prepare?
  • Make sure that any important letters or checks are mailed out during the week to ensure it gets where it needs to go on time. 
  • Consider implementing online bill pay to ensure Saturday transactions. 
  • Consider purchasing a PO box for any mail that you must receive daily. 
  • Keep your customers informed of any upcoming changes - as not to surprise anyone when the changes occur. 

It is important to keep up-to-date on any changes within the postal service. While USPS has not officially released any more details regarding the changes, we can expect to come across difficulties along the way.

What other ways can you see these changes affecting your business or e-commerce in general? Share your thoughts!

by Samantha Warner
Marketing Extraordinaire