USPS launches parcel terminal trial in Northern Virginia

The US Postal Service held a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday to unveil its new parcel terminal trial before hundreds of shoppers and retailers at a mall in Northern Virginia. The installation at the Ballston Common Mall is part of a trial of 25 terminals being run in Northern Virginia as the Postal Service considers the possibility of the alternative collection system for parcels.

Branded as the “gopost” service, the trial allows consumers to buy items online and have them delivered to their local mall, where they can collect items while out shopping.

The Postal Service said its pilot programme was testing the parcel terminals out in locations where consumers already frequent.

The Ballston terminal is the first to be opened in a non-postal site, since the trial already has six gopost units up and running at post offices around northern Virginia.

USPS said it was planning to install other gopost units at locations including grocery stores, pharmacies, transportation hubs and other shopping centers.

“The Postal Service is committed to improving the way we serve our customers,” said Kelly Sigmon, vice president, Channel Access. “We want to give them more convenience, more flexibility and more options. That’s what gopost is all about.

“gopost represents the next great innovation from the U.S. Postal Service,” added Sigmon. “It’s based on a simple, yet novel idea: Why wait for your package when your package can wait for you.”

“Convenience”

To use the service, customers register at gopost.com, where they select their own personal ID numbers to use with their gopost access cards. The cards are mailed to customers once registration is completed. Packages are delivered to gopost by Postal Service carriers.

When a package arrives, the gopost customer is notified via email that the item is available for pickup.

Customers also can use gopost to ship packages. “gopost is a great convenience, especially for busy small-business owners,” said Sigmon. “All they have to do is place a postage-paid package in one of the gopost lockers, and our local carrier does the rest.”

The Postal Service said at the moment, only packages it delivers can be shipped to gopost terminals, but it said it was looking into how other parcel carriers might be able to pass on packages for “last mile” delivery to gopost terminals, as they already do for last mile delivery to many households.

Yesterday’s ceremony marked the official launch of the pilot program, USPS said.

The Ballston Common Mall was selected for its high traffic and access to the community.

“We could not be happier that Ballston Common Mall was selected as the first shopping mall gopost site,” said John J. Moore, eastern regional vice president, Forest City Commercial Management. “We welcome the added convenience gopost provides to our customers.”

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