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USPS Tests Package Dropoff Kiosks for eBay Sellers

The USPS revealed a new test it was running with eBay designed to make it easier for sellers to get an initial scan on packages entering the mail stream. It’s an important issue for sellers who feel pressure to let eBay and their buyers know the moment their packages are on their way to the customer.

USPS Vice President of Sales Cliff Rucker made the announcement to an audience of over 1,000 sellers at the eBay OPEN event in Las Vegas last week. He acknowledged that in the 5 years he’s held his current position, he’s heard many complaints that it’s hard to get a package scanned.

“One of the tests we’re going to do with eBay is build a system where you’ll be able to walk in, you won’t have to stand in line, you’ll be able to go over to a kiosk, you’ll be able to scan your package, we’ll give you a receipt,” he said. The audience erupted into loud cheers.

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Generally sellers print postage labels from their office computers. The reason many bring packages to the post office (and must sometimes wait in line) is to ensure the packages are scanned as soon as possible.

The head of eBay North America Hal Lawton asked Rucker what expectation sellers should have around scanning of their packages by the Postal Service, explaining it was a big metric for eBay sellers in terms of how eBay helps judges their performance.

“You should get a scan on your package every day and every location that it goes through,” Rucker said. He said Postmaster General Megan Brennan and her team were focused on improving the customer experience.

“For us, scanning isn’t an option, it’s a requirement,” Rucker said. I know at times that becomes a pain point for sellers and receivers. Scanning is a priority for us.”

He also revealed that the USPS is investing in passive technologies that will help collect better scans.

And prior to September, the USPS will change the scanning language to make it more conversational – for instance, instead of “out for delivery,” it might say something like, “your package has left your carrier unit and will be delivered by your letter carrier by x time tonight.”

The USPS will also provide more details about the status of a package. For instance, Rucker explained, a package on its way from LA to New York will have daily updates about its location as opposed to waiting until the package arrives in New York. Sellers applauded the announcement.

Tom Allason, Vice President Shipping at eBay, also spoke at the event, and mentioned eBay was working on a next generation label platform to be launched next year.

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Ina Steiner

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. Author of Turn eBay Data into Dollars (McGraw-Hill 2006). Send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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