As our nation’s premier shipping carrier, the United States Postal Service is one of the cornerstones of the American economy. However, USPS has recently come under much scrutiny, with the Trump administration putting its $3.9 billion dollar loss on blast. In addition, Stamps.com split from USPS in a highly-publicized breakup in February, claiming the Postal Service isn’t positioned to win as eCommerce continues to explode in growth (that’s just flat-out wrong, but we digress). While this press has drawn negative attention to USPS, Shipping School is here to re-write the script. We’re about to show you why America needs the US Postal Service now more than ever. Viva USPS!
The US Postal Service’s Delivery Network is Irreplaceable
With roughly 497,000 employees manning over 30,000 Post Offices, sorting facilities, and a nationwide delivery fleet, USPS’ network is simply unmatched. This massive yet agile delivery network is the very reason USPS can deliver mail and parcels to every corner of the United States within their guaranteed timeframes.
But wait, there’s more! The size of USPS’ network also allows them to deliver to destinations like the US Territories at no extra cost. The same goes for shipping to Hawaii and Alaska. Whereas private carriers treat these destinations basically like shipping to another country by jacking up their prices, USPS charges the same zone-based prices as they do for domestic shipping.
USPS is the Best Carrier for eCommerce (Which Will Only Keep Booming)
Did you know that eCommerce accounted for more than 40% of total retail growth in 2018? Online retail is booming, and a big part of that is because of the US Postal Service! eCommerce business owners choose USPS because they offer the best mix of affordable rates and fast delivery. USPS’ shipping services are perfect for D2C operations that need to get products out quickly, and at a reasonable cost. To put it simply: cheap shipping costs = higher profit margins!
In addition, no other carrier offers such deeply discounted postage as USPS does through their partnerships with online shipping software solutions. Through shipping software and certified postage resellers, the Postal Service is able to offer shipping discounts such as USPS Commercial Pricing. Commercial Pricing represents the highest level of discounts typically reserved for huge companies shipping over 50,000 packages a year. However, USPS willingly offers this perk through shipping software to benefit small business owners. These USPS shipping discounts are what drive eCommerce and allow it to keep growing at the rate that it has!
Last Mile Delivery—Ever Heard of It?
USPS has the mailbox monopoly. This means that they are the only carrier that can legally place packages in mailboxes, instead of just leaving them on doorsteps. USPS is also the only carrier that can deliver to neighborhood cluster boxes, PO Boxes, and Military APO/FPO addresses. Between all of that, USPS is the only carrier that delivers to every single address in the country. USPS has massive economies of scale as a result, which allows them to deliver packages at a low cost.
Since delivery is so cheap, other shipping carriers sometimes hand packages off to USPS to complete their last mile delivery for them. Without USPS, private carriers would have to deliver every package themselves…and their shipping rates would skyrocket. This might make competitors such as UPS and FedEx more money, but if USPS isn’t around to control last mile pricing, businesses that rely on low shipping costs would lose their profit margins. See what we’re getting at here?
USPS is Investing Heavily in New Technology
Lastly, USPS has really stepped it up in recent years when it comes to their technology. Aside from partnering with shipping software solutions, USPS overhauled its website and made tracking a package way easier than it was in the past. Their technological upgrades go beyond their website, too. The Postal Service recently invested in all-electric delivery vans in an effort to carve out a more sustainable future.
Another little-known example of how USPS uses cutting-edge technology is their Remote Encoding Center Salt Lake City, Utah. This facility is equipped with technology that’s entirely devoted to deciphering illegible handwriting (and it works). Thanks to the Remote Encoding Center, even doctors with awful handwriting can get their mail delivered to the right destination!