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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2595 - July 27, 2011 - ISSN 1539-5065    3 of 4

USPS to Close Retail Offices and Replace them with the Village Post Office

By Ina Steiner
EcommerceBytes.com
July 27, 2011




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Facing an ongoing financial crisis, the U.S. Postal Service is studying 3,700 of its nearly 32,000 retail offices for possible closure. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said, "Our customer's habits have made it clear that they no longer require a physical post office to conduct most of their postal business."

As part of the effort to "right-size" its retail network, the Postal Service also introduced a retail-replacement option for affected communities around the nation.

"Today, more than 35 percent of the Postal Service's retail revenue comes from expanded access locations such as grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, retail chains, self-service kiosks, ATMs and usps.com, open 24/7," said the Postmaster. Last year, the USPS entered into an agreement with office-supply retail chain Office Depot to make available supplies along with Priority Mail and Express Mail services.

The Postal Service introduced the Village Post Office as a potential replacement option for communities affected by the retail optimization efforts. Village Post Offices would be operated by local businesses, such as pharmacies, grocery stores and other appropriate retailers, and would offer popular postal products and services such as stamps and flat-rate packaging.

Businesses who are interested in applying for a contract with the Postal Service to start a Village Post Office in their local community should contact Rickey Johnson (303-743-1266, email cmc.travelretailtempsrvc@usps.gov). According to the USPS website, Village Post Offices are operated by community businesses to provide selected postal products and services, including Forever stamps and Priority Mail Flat Rate packages and envelopes. These retail units may also provide Post Office Boxes either inside or outside the business.

Postmaster Donahoe said, "By working with third-party retailers, we're creating easier, more convenient access to our products and services when and where our customers want them. The Village Post Office will offer another way for us to meet our customers' needs."

"The Postal Service of the future will be smaller, leaner and more competitive and it will continue to drive commerce, serve communities and deliver value," Donahoe added.

The list of 3,700 retail offices the postal service is studying to determine customer needs is available through a link on this page.

Note: The U.S. Postal Service rolled out its new, redesigned website over the weekend, if you have tried out the new site, please leave a comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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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