The US Postal Service has launched a “major upgrade” of its Priority Mail service, particularly targeting small businesses.
US Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe described the changes yesterday as “one of the most dramatic new offerings from the Postal Service” in meeting the demand for affordable shipping.
Priority Mail now incorporates the old USPS Express Mail service, offering a simplified line-up of scheduled delivery options – 1-day, 2-day or 3-day based on the origin and destination of the package.
USPS is also including improved features for its Priority Mail services including free insurance and improved tracking.
Scheduled delivery information and tracking details will be displayed prominently on the range of newly-designed boxes and envelopes, and customers will be able to track their items online.
Free insurance will cover $50 or $100 worth of liability depending on whether the shipping was paid online or the item was taken to a retail counter.
Donahoe said: “We believe this Priority Mail line-up positions the Postal Service very competitively in the shipping marketplace and gives small businesses and other frequent shippers a continued and compelling reason to do business with the Postal Service.”
The relaunch of Priority Mail – and rebranding of Express Mail as Priority Mail Express – has been part of the Postal Service strategy of building on one of its key growth areas, package shipping.
USPS has seen its package business grow more than 14% in the last two years, thanks in large part due to the growth in online shopping.
E-commerce growth is projected to continue for the next decade, the Postal Service said, with online consumers increasing their spending by 62% by 2016, with e-commerce retail sales set to be worth $370bn by 2017.
Nagisa Manabe, chief marketing and sales officer at USPS, said: “With e-commerce driving major changes in shipping habits, and consumers becoming more reliant on delivery services, the Postal Service can play an increasingly vital role as a driver of growth opportunities for America’s businesses. We expect our Priority Mail product will continue to be very popular.”
USPS is planning an integrated marketing campaign to get the word out to business and residential customers about its upgraded Priority Mail services.