Five Things to Know about USPS Changes to Priority Mail
By Ina Steiner
The USPS is making some changes to its Express Mail and Priority Mail services on July 28th, and it will be launching an ad campaign next month to communicate the changes to the public. Here are the most important points online sellers need to know:
1) Rebranding: Express Mail will be changed to Priority Mail Express (and Express Mail International will be changed to Priority Mail Express International);
2) Estimated delivery: Priority Mail packages will have an estimated service of 1 day, 2 days, or 3 days that will be displayed on the payment receipt, online shipping label and in the USPS Tracking information.
3) Insurance: Domestic Priority Mail will now include insurance with no additional charge.
4) Pricing: Current prices for Priority Mail will remain in place.
5) Packaging: Shippers can to continue using the Express Mail and Express Mail International names and associated packaging until January 2014.
The USPS has always advertised Priority Mail as a 2-3 day delivery service. Now, mailers will get an estimated service of 1 day, 2 days, or 3 days based on the package's departure and ship-to location.
Shippers cannot request 1, 2 or 3 day delivery, but if they need overnight delivery, they can use Priority Mail Express (to most locations). Priority Mail remains a non-guaranteed service, but Priority Mail Express continues to provide a money-back guarantee service (see details on the USPS website).
When the changes go into effect on July 28, 2013, domestic Priority Mail will include, without additional charge, either $50 or $100 insurance for loss, damage, and missing merchandise. If you're using a stamp or meter to add postage to your package, you'll need to bring your package to the Post Office to receive the automatic insurance.
The USPS said it was rebranding Express Mail because revenue and volume figures for the product have "stagnated" in recent years, and it wanted to increase awareness. "It is hoped that these name changes will help reinvigorate Express Mail by leveraging the widespread recognition of, and positive associations with, the Priority Mail brand. As an added benefit, the proposed name changes would effectively consolidate most of the Postal Service's shipping products under a single brand identity."
USPS is currently testing advertisements and is planning on promoting the changes via mail, TV, radio and Internet channels, according to Post & Parcel.
More information and FAQs are available on the USPS website.
Update 7/8/13: Many sellers had questions about the new Priority Mail insurance - see "USPS Clears up Questions about Priority Mail Insurance" in the July 9th issue of EcommerceBytes Newsflash.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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