Key Notes – Volume 04 Number 34

Mailers Beware:  USPS 2018 Promotions in Limbo – The U.S. Postal Service Vice President of Pricing and Costing, Sharon Owens, shared pricing signals at the August 2017 MTAC Open Session.  The Postal Service plans to file rates this fall.  It is anticipated to have an implementation date of January 21, 2018.  The increase will be in the 2% range, with most within 1% lower or higher.  Nonprofit letters may see a higher increase.  Although the rate filing was approved by the final Board of Governor before his term expired in December 2016, the USPS promotions for 2018 were not approved as part of that process.  The USPS is not allowed to extend the current promotions or move forward with proposed ones until they have at least one governor.  There are individuals under review for the open positions, but there is not definitive timeline.  Source:  Farrington

The Future of Mail Connects Print and Digital – As the world around us becomes more digitized, it’s not surprising that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has followed suit.  In a recent webinar, “Informed Delivery: Connecting Mail to a Digital Experience,” sponsored by Satori Software, industry experts discussed the USPS Informed Delivery program and its benefits, usage and adoption in a digital environment.  Beyond the logistics of the program, which is still in the early phases, there are benefits.  Recipients may even be driven to a website or a call to action before they ever see the physical piece of printed mail.  For example, USPS is currently seeing a 70% open rate for the Informed Delivery emails that go out each morning. For each email that it is opened, it provides an added level of engagement with the mail and with the brand.  To learn more, listen to the full webinar here.  Or click here to download one of our other educational webinars.  Source:  Printing Impressions

Changes to Move Update Assessment – The Postal Regulatory Commission approved the Postal Service’s Move Update plan to implement a new Move Update verification method on January 21, 2018, applicable to commercial First-Class Letters and Flats, and USPS Marketing Mail Letters and Flats claiming presort and automation postage rates.  The new Move Update verification method uses a new census sampling method to more accurately measure the proportion of pieces mailed that have not been properly updated to reflect a Change of Address (COA) order.  The tolerance is 0.5% with an assessment rate raised from the current $.07 per piece, for pieces above the threshold to $.08 per piece.  Source:  PRC

AFPA Releases Monthly Report – The American Forest & Paper Association has released its July 2017 U.S. Packaging Papers & Specialty Packaging Monthly report on August 16.  Total Packaging Papers shipments were 230,900 tons, 4.7% higher than July 2016. Bag & Sack shipments were up 6.1% year-to-date, while Food Wrapping shipments were down 9.5% over the same period.  The operating rate for July 2017 was 88.4%, in line with the year-to-date rate of 88.6%.  Inventories were 173,100 tons, up slightly since June.  The complete report with detailed tables, charts, and historical data can be purchased by contacting Statistics_Publications@afandpa.org.  Source:  AFPA

2017 USPS Mobile Shopping Promotion – This promotion provides business mailers with an upfront two percent postage discount on USPS Marketing Mail letters and flats and Nonprofit USPS Marketing Mail letters and flats.  The mailpiece must include a mobile barcode or print/mobile technology (which includes Informed Delivery) that can be read or scanned by a mobile device and leads the recipient to a mobile -optimized shopping website with the ability to complete a financial transaction.  Check out the most up-to-date USPS document providing a program description, requirements, approval processes, and technical information for the 2017 Mobile Shopping Promotion.  Source:  USPS

Navigating the Postal Explorer Website Webinar – On Monday, August 28, 2017 at 1:00pm (EDT), please plan to join Product Classification for a Postal Explorer Website demonstration webinar (Click here to register).  The webinar will highlight tips to navigate Postal Explorer publications, rate calculators, service guides, and more–-to better help you and your customers.  The website has been enhanced to improve engagement with today’s media tools.