Key Notes Vol. 02 No. 12

USPS Reports $1.4 Billion YTD Operating Profit – The US Postal Service reported an operating surplus of $76 million for the month of February, bringing its fiscal year to date profit to $1.4 billion. Those numbers reflect actual revenue and expenses, and do not include the non-cash accounting entries the USPS records every month to comply with the 2006 PAEA law. Ironically, the February numbers actually would look better using the PAEA figures, since they include a whopping $666 million paper “credit” for the change in valuation of future workers comp liabilities. Unfortunately for the USPS, that $666 million is just as ephemeral as the half billion or so the USPS charges to PAEA “trust fund” payments every month, even though it never actually makes the payments. Source: PostalNews.com

Should Native Advertising Be a Priority for United States Postal Service? – NativeMobile has recently learned that USPS officials are being lobbied heavily (most likely by ad companies and native ad service providers) to “get with it’ and bring their marketing efforts to the cutting edge digital age. Could Buzz Feed listicles correct misperceptions and make the post office seem cool again? What about social media ads that spotlight the friendly neighborhood mail carrier (and not just data on pricing/shopping)? What if the USPS allowed companies to sponsor stamps? If a stamp not only got a piece of mail from point A to point B, but promoted First Class and Corn Flakes all in one fell swoop? These are all suggestions being made to USPS honchos. NativeMobile hears that there’s been tepid response so far to the idea of embracing new-age ad tactics. Citizens like the old school services the USPS offers. But perhaps new school marketing techniques could go a long way toward helping it survive not only “rain, and snow, and sleet,” but also a hail of a lot of bad publicity. Source: NativeMobile.com

Why Authors and Readers Still Want Print – The latest Pew Internet Research study found that e-reading is indeed on the rise but eclipsed by the continuing popularity of print. The percentage of American adults who read an ebook was 28% in 2014, up 11% since 2011. Still, that figure is small compared to the percentage who read a print book, 69% in 2014, only slightly fewer than the 71% who reported doing so in the 2011 sample. In other words, Americans are far more likely to read print than to read ebooks. Source: Digital Book World

Augmented Reality Will Change How We Shop – Forever – According to AugementedRealityTrends.com, it is expected that by 2017 more than 2.5 billion mobile AR apps will have been downloaded. By 2016, the total revenue generated from AR is expected to surpass $600 billion. This is nothing to ignore.  Image recognition — and the AR experiences that it enables — allows shoppers to create a deep connection with the retailer or brand’s content, while making shopping more of an interactive and exciting experience versus a task.   Shoppers engage with the brand, but do so by receiving useful content and information. Not only is AR useful while within a brick-and-mortar, which helps to combat showrooming, but these engagements can also be fulfilled at home, bringing the physical experience of shopping right into your living room. Source: iMediaConnection

USPS Sees Big Opportunity in New Ecommerce Delivery Options – Gary Reblin, the Postal Service’s vice president of new products and innovation, appeared at the recent PostalVision 2020 conference, where he noted the industry projection that the $200 billion ecommerce market is expected to nearly double in the next five years. And the Postal Service wants to do everything it can to accelerate that growth. For instance, Reblin cited a consumer survey in which 6.5 percent of respondents said they don’t bother with shopping online because they don’t want to encounter hassles with returns. Source: eCommerceBytes

Be More Prepared for USPS Promotions – In order to win consumer loyalty and achieve growth across all channels, retailers must enhance their mobile commerce offerings and improve the in-store shopping experience, according to results of a survey of 750 U.S. consumers – and a separate analysis of how U.S. retailers operate across multiple sales channels – by Accenture. Only 42 percent of shoppers found it easy to complete a purchase using a mobile device, and when asked which aspect of the shopping experience is most in need of an upgrade, 39 percent ranked the physical store first, showing that retailers have not made much progress in these categories since last year’s survey.   The research also found that a number of mobile capabilities that can enhance seamless retailing for customers remain underdeveloped. For example, while all of the U.S. retailers assessed as part of Accenture’s benchmarking analysis have mobile optimized websites, only 53 percent have optimized their websites for tablets. Source: Multichannel Merchant