USPS offers direct mail “summer sale”

USPS Summer SaleIt’s no secret that the economy has depressed mail volume and that the USPS is suffering. But here’s a bit of surprising news:

The postal service is offering a “sale” this summer. Dead Tree Edition provides the details:

To counteract its declining revenues, the U.S. Postal Service is rolling out incentives to certain organizations that increase the number of items they mail.

Postal officials are reportedly working on a “Summer Sale” program to encourage businesses and non-profit groups to send more direct mail, catalogs, and other Standard-class mail this summer. Sources say it would offer rebates of 20% to 30% for mailers that increase their Standard mail during July, August, and September of this year.

The Postal Service will reportedly file the Summer Sale proposal with the Postal Regulatory Commission this month. The PRC would then have up to 45 days to rule on the proposal.

The program reportedly grew out of discussions between Postmaster General Jack Potter and CEOs of printing and paper companies about how to increase USPS’s volumes during the off-peak summer months. It would apparently be more politically acceptable than Potter’s other idea for countering low summer volumes — temporarily reducing deliveries to five days a week.

How you interpret this depends on whether you’re a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty person. Yes, it’s another sign of economic difficulty. But it’s also a great opportunity for mailers.

The USPS has also announced a “Saturation Mail Incentive Program” with rebates up to 4 cents a piece. You can get a fact sheet on the program here.

While I’ve been critical of the USPS for being a protected monopoly run by the government, it’s nice to see them trying to act more like a true business with competitive tactics like this.

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2 Responses to “USPS offers direct mail “summer sale””

  1. Ted Grigg on April 23rd, 2009 6:51 pm

    The post office must compete because it really is no longer the monopoly it once was on the distribution for personal messaging.

    E-mail and the interactive Internet have changed the scene for all media.

    So the USPS must now compete with pricing like all competitors.

    The pressure is on to reduce decreasing mail volume from large mailers. The postal service can no longer dump the burden as it has in the past on businesses.

    So I salute the new USPS.

    But the question is whether the federal government will stay out of their way so they can compete like any other business. That’s the $64,000 question.

  2. Dean Rieck on April 24th, 2009 8:45 am

    I have nothing against the USPS. But they aren’t 100% free of the monopoly thing. They’re still protected by law against direct competition in several ways, so while that might be good for the Postal Service, it’s not necessarily good for direct mail overall. They’re coming late to the competition game.

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