Understanding Postal: USPS Offers Sneak Peek at January 2012 Pricing Change
This summer the U.S. Postal Service provided cross-channel retailers with its January 2012 software release overview for customer-facing postage systems such as PostalOne after hearing from mailers and service providers that software changes need to be made in a more stable, scheduled manner so they could better plan for said changes.
While some may think a software release schedule is no big deal, the January 2012 overview provides direct marketers a first look at initiatives the USPS is considering including in its next market-dominant product pricing change, which will occur on Jan. 22, 2012 — the same time as pricing changes for its competitive service products.
The USPS has stressed that some of the items in its software overview are "placeholders," meaning that it hasn't yet committed to making those changes but wants the software designed to accommodate the initiatives if it does go through with them.
2012 USPS Placeholder Initiatives
For First Class mail, the USPS included software placeholders for new services such as roundtrip letter/flat service for mailing DVDs or optical discs (e.g., Netflix); election mail services; a "blended second ounce rate"; a new "extra day certain delivery" service; and customized prices for commercial parcels.
For Standard mail, placeholders include adding a new price tier to high density; replacement of existing Not Flat Machinable (NFM) categories with parcel categories; new indication of Every Door Direct mail pieces; two new Detached Marketing label services; replacement of existing NFM categories with Standard mail marketing parcels incorporating carrier-route pricing; and using mobile interactive technology to identify contents of Standard mail.
In a move designed to keep up with evolving technologies, the USPS has asked for software to allow for adding the number of pieces of mail with mobile interactive technology to the Periodicals postage statement.
For multiple classes of mail, the USPS's placeholder list includes adding a dynamic pricing template; a new price for Picture Permit Imprint Indicia; allowing a return receipt (with adult signature required) for PACT Act items; and adding the number of pieces of mail with mobile interactive technology to non-Periodical mail postage statements.
USPS Finds a Place for Mobile
The USPS looks to be embracing mobile interactive technology beyond its recently completed Mobile Barcode Promotion, which many catalogers are excited about. The promotion ran from July 1 through Aug. 31. Qualifying mailers received an up-front discount of 3 percent on First Class and Standard mail presort/automation mailings.