The Postal Service launched new USPS Connect services today aimed at business shippers, but will the four new offerings appeal to online sellers?
The first of four Connect services launching today in select locations offers next-day delivery to local addresses only: “USPS Connect Local is a new way for local businesses to affordably and quickly reach local customers.” In select areas, it will also offer same-day delivery and Sunday delivery and pickup options.
A spokesperson told EcommerceBytes USPS Connect Local offers
pricing for packages (up to 25 lbs) starting at $3.95. The service also includes USPS Connect Local Mail, a First-Class Mail option for documents up to 13 ounces.
According to today’s press release, businesses can enter USPS Connect Local packages and mail at the receiving dock of the designated postal facility, or they take advantage of free en-route pickup when their carrier delivers their mail. Free flat-rate bags, boxes and envelopes are available via Click-N-Ship.
The page describing USPS Connect Local indicates shippers must use the Click-N-Ship application to print a label and pay for postage. We have a question in to USPS about whether it is making the service available through online-postage providers. (Update: A spokesperson told us, “Currently USPS Connect postage is only available through Click-N-Ship.)
You can check this page on USPSConnect.com to see when the Postal Service will roll out USPS Connect Local to your state. (It appears it will only roll out to New York, New Jersey, and Texas this month.)
Another option, USPS Connect Regional, offers next-day regional delivery of US Parcel Select packages.
USPS Connect National provides delivery solutions for businesses of all sizes. According to today’s press release, “They can benefit from the Postal Service’s new mail processing equipment and reconfigured network to receive reliable delivery of packages through First-Class Package Service, Parcel Select Ground and Retail Ground.”
The fourth offering is USPS Connect Returns, described as “a service for businesses to offer their customers convenient returns, with free en-route pickup by their carrier or drop-off at a nearby Post Office location.”
Jakki Krage Strako, Chief Commerce and Business Solutions Officer, said in today’s announcement that the USPS is “giving smaller businesses big-business rates and all businesses more user-friendly ways to interact with us.”
The USPS had tested Connect Local in Texas, according to an article in MultiChannel Merchant, which quoted a USPS spokesperson saying in September, “So far interest and participation in the program has come from local mom-and-pops and establishments including churches, printing businesses, electronics sellers, hair salons and craft shops “to name a few.””
Sellers should note that delivery times are not guaranteed. When we asked for pricing, the USPS referred us to USPS Notice 123 – Notice 123 Postal Explorer (usps.com). Here’s the pricing for Connect Local.