The USPS should consider adding functionality to its USPS Mobile app that would allow customers to pay for postal services through the app, according to the Office of Inspector General (OIG). And it should consider creating a new app to allow customers to order money orders through their mobile devices.
These and other recommendations were published in a white paper recently released by the OIG.
Mobile apps present opportunities for the US Postal Service to attract more customers, generate additional revenue, and improve customer service, the OIG said, and it came up with 10 ideas with the help of a digital-mobile strategy expert and a marketing analysis firm - 5 suggestions for enhancing the existing USPS Mobile app (released in 2009), and 5 suggestions for new standalone apps from the Postal Service.
Some appear obvious, such as adding account management to USPS Mobile - customers could store information such as frequently used addresses and post offices, delivery preferences, and payment details, for example.
Also a sure-to-please addition: "allowing package recipients to receive alerts automatically when a package is sent to them, giving options to arrange a pickup time at a post office, offering expedited delivery service for an additional fee, or changing the delivery destination."
The OIG also suggested that the USPS add payments capability to its current mobile app:
"The Postal Service already allows users to buy stamps and pay for package shipping through its mobile website; transferring this functionality to the app would add utility. Both in-store and in-app, the Postal Service could allow customers to provide payments via their mobile devices for shipping or any future services."
It also suggests the USPS consider a new app to help customers order domestic and international money orders:
"Money orders remain a significant revenue source for the Postal Service, generating $165 million in 2014. A mobile app for money orders could increase the ease and efficiency of buying and using money orders. Customers could use their smartphones to input and store recipient information and create orders, which could expedite the current in-person process."
Some readers will remember the BidPay payment service
that let buyers order money orders in the early days of ecommerce. If so, the following may sound familiar:
"For repeat customers, the app could offer additional services, such as storing their debit card information. Customers could schedule money orders to be delivered directly to their house, allowing them to bypass the post office. The app could also offer a system for hybrid money orders, where the customer could order and pay for a money order on their mobile device. The Postal Service could then print and mail it to the recipient. These offerings could help promote customer loyalty."
Another suggested USPS app of interest to shoppers: a mobile coupon app. "The Coupon Collection app could allow consumers to easily collect, store, and organize coupons received in the mail by simply scanning and storing them to their mobile device for quick retrieval when the customer is ready to buy."
The full report is available on the USPS OIG website
and is well worth perusing. Let us know what you think of the USPS OIG suggestions, particularly around payments. And are there features you'd like to see that could help you with your shipping tasks?