|EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2601 - August 04, 2011 - ISSN 1539-5065 3 of 4|
The U.S. Postal Service rolled out its new, redesigned website in late July, and in the fall, the site will re-launch with new customer-focused features, including the ability to use PayPal, Spanish and Chinese translations for all new pages, an improved Post Office Locator, and more user-friendly "Hold Mail" and "Mail Redelivery" functions. EcommerceBytes checked in with USPS General Manager of Digital Access Joseph K. Adams to learn more about new features.
What are the most popular features on the site?
Joseph K. Adams: The most popular features have been the "Quick Tools" drop-down section on the left side of the page. These tools include Track & Confirm, Find USPS Locations, Calculate a Price and Look Up a ZIP Code.
Other popular features include the upper navigation links, which feature the four types of transactions that households conduct with the Postal Service: Ship a Package, Send Mail, Manage Your Mail (incoming), and Shop (stamps and merchandise). This new navigation, with drop-down menus featuring one-click access to particular applications, will make it easier for households to find what they are looking for.
The Business Customer Gateway site (gateway.usps.com) and Postal Explorer (pe.usps.com), used primarily by large enterprise customers, have not changed as a result of this launch. The applications used by major mailers and shippers are separate from this effort and can be used as usual.
Now that the new site has launched, will you be adding new features?
Joseph K. Adams: The Postal Service does expect to enhance the new site with both new and improved features. Development is underway on the next set of enhancements to the site. We plan to undertake an ongoing series of coordinated launches to integrate Postal Service online applications into a more seamless customer experience and make the experience consistent and easy to use. The effort in this recent launch, and the next set of enhancements, are aimed particularly at household users who will be able to more easily do their business with the US Postal Service from home.
Why did the USPS choose to include Spanish and Chinese as translated languages coming to the site?
Joseph K. Adams: Based on customer research, Spanish and Chinese are the two most common languages - other than English- used by households in the United States. New pages will be translated as they are integrated into the new site. Translations are being provided to assist customers who prefer to read instructions, FAQs, product descriptions, etc. in their native languages.
Some legacy applications, such as Click N'Ship and PO boxes online, will remain available only in English, and customers will be required to enter their data in English.
The Postal Service already offer Bill Me Later as a payment option, what kind of adoption are you seeing? What percent of transactions are paid with Bill Me Later?
Joseph K. Adams: This information is proprietary; therefore we are not able to disclose it.
Can you tell us about the decision to add PayPal as a payment option, and can we expect to see other online payment methods?
Joseph K. Adams: We are pleased to be partnering with PayPal to offer another payment option, and it will be available first with Click N'Ship. We believe it will provide convenience and flexibility to our customers. There are no specific plans to offer other payment methods at this time, although we continually assess the needs of our customers.
Is there anything else you would like to share about the new site with EcommerceBytes readers?
Joseph K. Adams: One of the more significant changes to the website is the addition of the register/login link at the top of each page. This was not in the prior site, and it is now highlighted to encourage households to register for an account at USPS.com. As future enhancements are made, the value of households having an account with the Postal Service will increase, enabling us to serve them even better whether they are shipping packages, ordering stamps, or asking for their mail to be held.
This launch is the first step in developing a website that is easy to use, intuitive, and makes every household in the United States understand that we are evolving to meet their changing needs. Usage of the website is growing. This is a clear message that citizens wish to interact with the Postal Service digitally. We believe that as we continue to enhance the online experience, this growth will continue and even accelerate.
In addition to the online experience, the Postal Service mobile apps are generating significant visits and traffic, and are consistently rated in the top-10 free business apps in iTunes and the Android App store.
Related Blog Post: What Do Online Sellers Think of New USPS Website? - click here to read.
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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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