Key Notes Vol. 02 No. 47

Peak Season Brings Surge in Holiday Orders The Postal Service and other shippers are poised to capitalize on major increases in online holiday shopping, the Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 22.  USPS expects to deliver 600 million packages during the holidays, an increase of 10.5 percent, while UPS and FedEx project increases in the 10-12 percent range.  To keep holiday shipments moving, retailers are employing new methods of inventory management, the Journal reported.  Source:  USPS Link

New Consumer Service Enhances Hardcopy MailThis fall, New Yorkers are going to experience a new kind of mail.  The U.S. Postal Service is rolling out a “pilot” program called Informed Delivery™ service (previously called Real Mail Notification) where users can get a preview of their daily mail the morning of the delivery.  Waiting for that check to come through the mail?  You will know in the morning what you’ll find in your physical mailbox later on that day.  Features include:

·         New consumer service that enhances hardcopy mail
·         Integrates direct mail and digital marketing channels
·         Provides multiple impressions and the potential for interactivity
·         Targeting My USPS users in NY Metro ZIP Codes (066, 069, 100-119)
Source:  USPS
Notice by PRC on USPS Promotions Mailers have until Monday, December 7, 2015 to file their comments on the recently filed Postal Service notice announcing plans to implement five temporary promotions and associated classification changes.  Source: Federal Register Notice
Precarious Finances for USPS with Loss of Exigent Surcharge Assuming that the 4.3% exigent surcharge on most postal rates will be eliminated early next year a USPS plan projects a revenue increase of only $400 million, to $69.3 billion.  With an estimated $1.5 billion in additional expenses, that would mean an operating loss of $100 million.  (Politicians and the news media will call it a $5.9 billion loss because they will include the supposed prepayment of retiree health benefits that postal officials wisely refuse to pay).  Source:  Dead Tree Edition
Why You’re Still Paying a Fuel Surcharge The price of diesel is down 30% from a year ago, but UPS still charges customers a 5.25% fuel surcharge on top of whatever it would cost to ship a package.  FedEx’s fuel surcharge is 4.25% for ground shipments and 2.75% for express shipments.  The surcharges have earned both companies a place on Consumer Reports’ list of “naughty” companies for Christmas 2015.  The companies said their fuel costs are determined by factors beyond prices at the pump. For example increased shipments to residential customers, due to online purchases, mean were using more fuel.  Both companies also point out the surcharge has fallen sharply from last year along with the fuel prices. For example, UPS’ fuel surcharge was 7% a year ago.  (Editor Note:  The Postal Service has no fuel surcharge.)  Source:  CNN Money
Hot Debate:  Direct Mail or Digital Marketing When it comes to advertising, providers who dismiss direct mail marketing in favor of digital platforms could be missing out, says marketing expert Justin Racine.  “The thing with direct mail marketing is, everyone still gets mail,” said Racine, marketing and e-commerce manager at Geriatric Medical.  “The demographic that providers are likely going after—the baby boomers—haven’t grown up with digital technology.”  Depending on the demographic information available, Racine says providers can tailor their message to reach a specific customer segment.  Source:  HME News
How Are Postmasters Appointed? – From 1836 to 1971, postmasters at the larger Post Offices were appointed by the President, by and with the consent of the Senate.  Postmasters earning less than $1,000 per year were appointed by the Postmaster General, generally upon the advice of the local congressman or townspeople.  Regulations required that postmasters execute a valid bond and take an oath of office.  Minors were ineligible, and U.S. citizenship was required for appointment to all but the smallest Post Offices.  Prior to 1971, it was also required that postmasters live in the delivery area of their Post Office. Since 1971, postmasters have been selected through the merit system.  Want to know your postmaster?  Click here and enter your city and state.  Source:  Linn’s Stamp