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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2235 - March 03, 2010 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 4

Proposed USPS Action Plan May Impact Ecommerce Sellers

By Ina Steiner
March 03, 2010

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The USPS published a plan on Tuesday to cope with a declining volume of mail, and it could have a significant impact on ecommerce. The USPS projected a $238 billion shortfall in 2020 due to "unprecedented" volume declines. A possible move to a 5-day delivery schedule and likely fee changes could mean that online sellers who currently use the U.S. Postal Service might have to change the way they do business to satisfy consumer expectations.

Postmaster General John E. Potter's plan, called "Ensuring a Viable Postal Service for America," includes cost cutting, increased productivity, and an array of legislative and regulatory changes that he said were necessary to maintain a viable United States Postal Service.

The self-supporting government enterprise said it projects mail volume to fall from 177 billion in 2009 to 150 billion in 2020. According to the report, "That represents a 37 percent decline in First-Class Mail alone. Revenue contributed by First-Class Mail will plummet from 51 percent today to about 35 percent in 2020."

The new plan calls for adjusting delivery days "to better reflect current mail volumes and customer habits." The USPS said survey data shows the public favors 5-day deliver over using taxpayer funds and other alternatives. The plan also calls for providing services at locations that are more convenient to customers, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, retail centers, and office supply stores: "Increase and enhance customer access through partnerships, self-service kiosks and a world-class Website."

The President of the 300,000-member National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) opposed the proposal in a statement on Tuesday. Fredric Rolando said, "I do not believe that weakening our commitment of six-day service to the public will enhance the long-term position of the Postal Service as a critical element in our nation's economic infrastructure. In view of the January report released by the postal Inspector General that showed that the USPS was overcharged by $75 billion for postal pension costs, Congress instead should take immediate steps to correct the error."

Link to more information on the USPS.com website.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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