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USPS Drums Up Business on Main Street – Could Microfulfillment Be Next?

USPS Drums Up Business on Main Street - Could Microfulfillment Be Next?

The USPS is looking to small brick-and-mortar retailers and businesses to help it generate business. It unveiled a new “Delivering for Main Street” initiative last month during a summit for business lead development specialists.

According to a post today on the Link online newsletter for employees, the USPS said its Small Business Solutions team developed the program, which has the following three components:

• The Employee Engagement Lead Generation Program, which encourages all employees to look for new revenue opportunities and submit sales leads to support local small-business growth.

• A new small-business outreach program, which emphasizes how the Postal Service can be a partner for small business in the marketplace.

• The USPS Loyalty Program, which provides credits to small businesses for using Click-N-Ship to purchase Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express services.

None of those are revolutionary. The USPS already has lead-generation programs and launched the loyalty program in 2020. (While it sounds beneficial to shippers, they get better rates using online postage providers, while Click-N-Ship only offers higher “retail” rates.)

The post on USPS Link had no details about the outreach program, and we couldn’t find anything about the Delivering for Main Street program beyond today’s post, which quoted USPS Small-Business Solutions Manager Peter Timko: “Delivering for Main Street is our team’s strategy to implement the Postal Service’s larger Delivering for America plan and position the USPS as the industry leader in providing solutions for small businesses.” The USPS released its Delivering for America 10-year plan on March 23, 2021.

However, the USPS Office of Inspector General (USPS OIG) published a report last month (October 11, 2022), “The Value of the Postal Service’s Retail Network for Small Businesses,” where it engaged in some creative thinking. For example, in a section called, “Enhancing Post Office Services for Small Businesses,” it floated the idea of Micro-Fulfillment Services:

“The Postal Service could leverage unused space in post offices to offer fulfillment services. For such an offering, the Postal Service could accept inventory from small businesses and store it at postal facilities across the country. When a customer places an order for one of the products, the post office could quickly get it to a carrier for local delivery. Offering fulfillment services would require the Postal Service to further develop its inventory and order management expertise, potentially drawing lessons from the successful fulfillment of COVID-19 home tests.”

Feel free to weigh in on the Delivering for Main Street initiative and the analysis provided in the USPS OIG report in the comments below. How can the USPS help your business?

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.