Key Notes Vol. 02 No. 16

USPS Rate Increase Now Scheduled There’s been so much banter and confusion associated with the U.S. Postal Service 2015 planned postage rate increase that it’s difficult to believe any info released by the USPS. The latest information suggests that rates will in fact go up effective Sunday May 31, 2015 [Key Notes]. Rates are scheduled to increase on a Sunday, which is standard USPS practice. This means that the impact of the increases won’t really be felt until Monday, June 1 2015. Many of the requested increases had been approved by the USPS Board of Governors earlier in the year, so it seems quite likely that this request will be approved quickly with little fanfare. Although the standard 49 cent letter rate will remain unchanged, pretty much all other classes of mail will be impacted. Source: Presort.com

Upcoming Postal Service Pricing Seminars The USPS has announced they will be conducting industry webinars on the price change implementation. Although details will be provided at a later date pending PRC approval of the USPS proposed prices, they are asking mailers to please save the following dates: Tuesday, May 12, 2015 (all mail classes); Wednesday, May 13, 2015 (Periodicals only); Thursday, May 14, 2015 (all mail classes). Source: USPS Industry Alert

Earned Value Mail Promo to Launch on Schedule In its April 16 filing with the Postal Regulatory Commission revising requests for certain market dominant rate approvals, the U.S. Postal Service announced that it would proceed on schedule with the first of four planned promotions for 2015. The Earned Value Promotion, reports USPS, will run from May 1 through July 31. This program is intended to reverse some of the decline in First Class mailings. To qualify, mailers that include Business Reply or Courtesy Reply pieces in their direct mail campaigns will receive a postage credit of each piece returned to them. The Postal Service also expressed its intent to move forward with the planned effective dates for three other discount programs that incent use of color, mobile integration, and technologies such as augmented reality in direct mail campaigns.  Source: DMNews

Good Example of Augmented Reality The latest issue of Zalando is out with even more great Augmented Reality and Interactive Print experiences. Several pages give readers a unique print-to-digital shopping experience that connects items in the piece with their digital counterparts on the Zalando website. A variety of Augmented Reality features wow readers as photography comes alive with behind-the-scenes videos, and 360-degree experiences give them new views of top products, and much more. [Did you know a cataloger can receive a 2-percent postage discount this year by including AR in their mailpiece? Read more here]. Source: Layar

Myth-Busting Inforgraphic About Paper, Sustainable ForestryTwo Sides North America announces the release of an engaging infographic that presents key facts about the relationship between paper and sustainable forestry, and encourages people to share it. The Two Sides infographic can be downloaded for free here. Source: Printing Impressions

Carper Urges US Congress to Tackle Massive Postal Service Debts US Senator Tom Carper has urged Congress to return to the business of crucial postal reforms, as the US Postal Service continues to make multi-billion dollar annual losses. Senator Carper, who was an important voice in the last significant Congressional postal reforms in 2006, recently held a bipartisan briefing on the state of USPS, which he said would be the first of several forums to analyze and discuss the Postal Service and Congressional reform efforts. Source: Post and Parcel

New Postal Service Delivery Fleet Could Include DronesThe Postal Service has winnowed down the companies bidding to build the next generation of its delivery vehicles – and one of them is offering up an all-electric truck that doubles as a drone launcher. The agency released a list of pre-qualified sources for the contract. One of the companies – Workhorse Group Inc., – is hoping to make an impression by showing the Postal Service that the future could involve a drone that can deliver packages while the mail carrier works their normal route. The electric delivery truck is called “Workhorse” while the drone that carries the packages is called “Horsefly” and is a product of a years-long partnership between the company and the University of Cincinnati, which has an unmanned vehicle research program. Source: Federal Times