WEB EXCLUSIVE - Understanding Postal: What a 5-Day USPS Delivery Week Means for Direct Marketers
In late March the U.S. Postal Service officially presented its plan to move to a five-day delivery week to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). Although the centerpiece of the USPS’ plan is the elimination of street address delivery on Saturdays, direct marketers should be aware there are many more potential changes that could impact their businesses.
Timing In-Home Delivery of Mail
While the USPS has been careful to say that customers would experience no change in their service standards, marketers must know that under the proposal, the applicable service standard for origin mail entered on a Saturday wouldn't start until the following Monday (or Tuesday if Monday is a holiday). This means the expected delivery date shifts two days to three days later.
Mail drop-shipped to plants/delivery units on Saturdays will still have a service standard that begins that day as long as the mail is entered before the critical entry time (CET) for that facility. This may sound like it solves the problem — particularly since a large percentage of catalogs are drop-shipped — but the USPS is likely to reduce mail acceptance hours on Saturdays, limit the number of appointments or make changes to CETs to accommodate changes in facility processing on weekends. Any of these changes could restrict the ability of mailers or service providers to enter mail on a Saturday to achieve desired in-home delivery dates.
Direct marketers who currently target in-home delivery for Saturday will need to re-evaluate their in-home delivery days and processes. Under the USPS’ plan, that mail will not be delivered until the following Monday/Tuesday. Those who want to move operations earlier to achieve Friday in-home delivery should begin discussions with service providers immediately. There may be limited capacity within the complex mail production and logistics supply chain to achieve this goal.