USPS developing mail and package notification services
The US Postal Service is working on new services to notify customers when mail or parcels are being delivered to their mailbox. A new service called Real Mail Notification has been trialled in Northern Virginia since last year, and is soon to be tried out in New York, which will allow people to check on what is in their physical mailboxes in the same way they might check their email or Facebook account.
The Postal Service is also working on its My USPS service, which notifies customers about incoming parcels and allows them to manage their deliveries.
US Postmaster General Megan Brennan highlighted the new services in her speech to the National Postal Forum yesterday, as she declared that the mail industry had to accelerate its innovation in order to engage with the digital world.
Brennan said the Real Mail Notification service had had “strong results” during its testing in Virginia.
“We generated a high level of engagement. Nine out of 10 people were checking their mobile device to see what’s in their mail every day,” she told the audience of major USPS customers.
“This digital platform we’re creating has the potential to be a game-changer for the sender of mail. Our next step is a test in New York City.”
The Real Mail Notification service developed out of enhanced services provided for Post Office Box users from 2012, originally devised to let customers know what was in their PO Box ready for collection.
The service scans mailpieces and emails recipients the morning before delivery to let them know what will be delivered into their mailbox.
“Everyone has their daily digital routine – we want to elevate the role of mail by being part of that daily experience,” explained Brennan.
“We’re building this platform to bring your physical content onto the same screen where you view your digital content.”
The Postmaster General told mailers at the National Postal Forum in Anaheim, California, that the new online mail notification service will in future allow mailers more opportunity to connect with consumers online.
She explained that a householder receiving mail from a certain retailer would be able to click on the scan in the Real Mail Notification application for additional online content — or offers — from the retailer concerned.
The US Postal Service has also been developing its package tracking services into a “My USPS” account system, where householders can sign up to manage their package deliveries.
At present the service allows householders to set up email or text notifications to track their packages, have items redelivered if deliveries were missed, or give authorisation to USPS to leave a package at their door.
Brennan said in Anaheim yesterday that the service will be further enhanced to provide “predictive one-hour mail and package delivery windows for every customer”.
“So, when you look at the notifications section of your mobile device next year, you’ll probably see your meetings for the day, the weather forecast, a news item or two, and when your mail will be delivered. That’s a great way of keeping mail top of mind and part of the daily flow of content,” she said.
The My USPS service builds on the Postal Service’s improved Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) tracking system, and comes as shipping rivals like UPS and FedEx are now providing residential customers with their own more sophisticated delivery management services, in the form of UPS My Choice and FedEx Delivery Manager.
The Postal Service is expecting its shipping and package volume to grow by 13.1% year-on-year in 2015, led by strong growth in e-commerce deliveries, with Parcel Select and First Class Packages services likely to see double-digit growth in volume.