on Jul 12th, 2013 | 64 comments
 

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but what about Parcel Post and Express Mail? If these products have new names, will they be more appealing to customers? We are about to find out. 

Later this month, the U.S. Postal Service will change the name of Express Mail to Priority Mail Express. Earlier this year, the Postal Service renamed Parcel Post to Standard Post. These name changes also come with some product enhancements, including improved tracking and insurance services. All of these changes are designed to strengthen the Postal Service’s shipping business in the rapidly expanding package delivery arena.

Parcel Post, one of the Postal Service’s oldest products and among its best-known brands, just celebrated its 100th anniversary. Its origin in 1913 is memorialized in stone at the old Post Office Department headquarters in Washington, D.C, where it is among a list of historic postal products inscribed in the building’s façade. In 1977, Express Mail became one of the few new “subclasses” created since passage of the 1970 Postal Reorganization Act. Since then, it has been known as the Postal Service’s premier express mail service, providing overnight delivery to some destinations. Of course, postal products should evolve to meet market needs, not remain frozen in time like an etching in stone.

Despite the long history of these products, the Postal Service believes that these rebranding changes will reinvigorate them and make them more competitive. In particular, the Express Mail change seeks to capitalize on the strong Priority Mail brand and the positive associations with it. Express Mail volume has fallen three times faster than Priority Mail since 2006, and Priority Mail is 20 times larger than Express Mail; and unlike Express Mail, Priority Mail has seen recent volume growth. Also, the Postal Service said “Priority Mail Express” will allow it to offer more definitive service expectations. Priority Mail will no longer be called a “2-3 day” service, and instead customers will get 1-day, 2-day, or 3-day service based on the specific origin-destination characteristics of the package.  

Do you think the name change will reinvigorate Express Mail? Will customers be confused by the name changes? Are the name changes important from a sales and marketing perspective, or are there other service-related changes that would help? 

Regarding Standard Post, does the jettisoning of the established “Parcel Post” brand strengthen the Postal Service’s position in the shipping business? Does the inclusion of “Standard” in the title make it too similar to other postal products, notably the mail category of Standard Mail, which is used by business mailers to send advertising? Or is the name likely to be unimportant to users of this ground parcel service?

Do you agree with the Postal Service’s decision to change the name of Express Mail and rename Parcel Post?

64 Comments


The conversion of third-class mail to "Standard Mail" was bad enough, not least because the common abbreviation for "standard" lends itself to bad jokes and snide comments. The new term "Standard Post" will simply make the situation worse.

It's just a waste of more money. Their going to have to change the packaging supplies and throw away the old ones. They will have to change signage. Just leave things as they are and try to get the mail where it's going in a quicker manner. I had mail going from Augusta to Atlanta and it took 6 days. What is wrong with this picture?

One might be able to understand the USPS fetish with marketing and branding is it were simply just another corporation in the marketplace. It isn't though and these constant attempts at window dressing detract from the overall mission of a public post. Given the way these products are promoted at the retail window there has to be some concern that this sort of rebranding is a way to deceive or at least confuse customers. Many windows no longer tell customers about alternative services like parcel post or media mail, instead pushing Flat Rate priority even when that isn't the best solution for the customer.
The Postal Service needs to focus on its core public service mission more and spend less time mimicking the private sector.

I do not agree with the Postal Service's decision.

Parcel post to standard is fine and I am in agreement. Priority Express is as you can see from the voting response of your polling, the public is not happy. The public has accepted Priority Mail as 2-3 days and Express is overnight for years. This PriorityExpress will confuse the public, that I see people possibly giving up on us and more and more going to our competitors. Something we can no longer afford.

Link exchange is nothing else however it is just placing the other person's website link on your page at appropriate place and other person will also do similar in favor of you.

Yes! I just order and paid for something on eBay within overnight shipping rate and delivery date and now when I opened up tracking it says 2 days!! Just BS

I also believe that the loss of Express mail was greatly attributed to the Sunday surcharge.

i will be glad if you will do that for me . because i have been waiting for long time and i dont even know when it will be reach my house . thank you ups and i will make sure we will work together thank you

all is great For U.S.A.gov.

We've always been told that if the customer says just send it regular or standard that we are to sell them priority for parcels. Now, when they just say standard, it really is a class of mail. Let's change the name of first class to regular!

Mail marked as parcel post would only downgrade the urgency for delivery to the customer. This move would also increase costs, as new mailing material will have to be printed! Don't let them take away your service guarantees

NO! They're calling it 'rebranding' when it's really brand confusion. Nothing but a pretext to further lower service standards in direct violation of US Code 39, Section 101 as it currently reads. More bad decisions from corporate and more bad news for our customers and rank-and-file USPS craft employees.

why does it matter as long as you get your mail, if anyone thinks the post office wastes money. just take a look into your senators and representatives they spends approx. 300,000 a year on sending you junk mail.

I spend $50,000 a year sending packages by USPS. It matters because as an online retailer, these changes were unannounced, confusing and expensive for us, as businesses, to change. I have been losing money for the past month because I got no notification. I'm just seeing these for the first time and I am awestruck.

I have been a strong supporter of USPS and have been in marketing and advertising for decades. This was terribly mishandled and bungled from start to finish. It's taken my IT guy a month to find and send me these updates. NOBODY understood what was coming.

I am very unhappy with the name changes. I have been in retail for 11 years (window clerk), and speaking amongst other SSA'S (sales/service associates) we think the new names will confuse customers and dilute the priority brand. How do we truly distinguish Priority Express mail from Priority mail? Have they figured out the new questions we have to ask in the bigger offices? (With the last changes)Retail dropped the ball informing the field what questions we had to ask our customers- I'm an on the job trainer and had to find out weeks later what changes were made to our "script'. I think that part of the reason for the popularity of priority mail is because of the successful marketing campaigns. With 1-2-and 3-day priority express, I am afraid that customers will opt for the cheaper priority or 1st class (why pay more when the mail piece will probably get there in 2-3 days with the cheaper services). If we are so hot to compete with the other BIG 2- why not guarantee 10am delivery to select destinations, or up the insurance amount? Why not promote the fact that we provide better service for less money?

I agree about changing the name but not about the new name. Customers are confused between FedEx and Express mail.
However, will a new business crop up using a name similar to the new name such as Fed Ex did when the USPS started Express Mail? Carriers see all the time where customers add to their bulk things to make it look official (terms such as certified and the colors that match the USPS colors). Could something be done to stop that infringement?

I do agree that re branding will inspire increased usage BUT my concern is are we able to handle additional volume? With the haphazard closures of both distribution plants and delivery units does the Postal Service have the infrastructure in place to capitalize on increased business? Or did they spite themselves in order to placate those Congressmen who would prefer to see the Mail in private & in corporate control?

I can appreciate the change from Parcel Post to Standard Post. It makes sense and it's easier to explain to a customer. I do not agree with the Express Mail change. This is the premier service that the USPS has to sell and the new name in my opinion "cheeses" it up. Overnight mail needs to be a seperate service all by itself. It needs to be able to sell itself so to speak. Just my opinion.....

Unless USPS is going to begin to guarantee day-specific service for its Priority and-or Priority Express products, renaming and rebranding them is pointless.
As for Parcel Post, it is such a well established product brand that it is indeed a mistake to re-name it. Rather, begin to advertise and emphasize Standard/Parcel Post more. However, if the Standard/Parcel Post product is a money-loser, perhaps it should be discontinued entirely and add a lower-rate, guaranteed 5-business day delivery Priority Mail or First-Class Mail Parcel product in its place.

They changed the name of parcel post and now it costs more money and they are just driving customers away. They want to raise prices and that is the worst thing they can do in this economy.

The change in name of package services will lead to confusion and possibly a drop in revenue. Some people may think that overnight express was discontinued and will use a competitor. And is there going to be a guarantee for one day priority, 2 day priority, and 3 day priority? I don't think so.

No it won't be any difference it is now. It will be delivered just like the rest. Bring them back to the office and leave a notice for them to pick it up.
Carriers get away with so much...

The intent is good. The solution is poor.
Old retail choice: do you want apples or oranges?
New retail choice: do you want apple/orange or orange?
Huh?

Exactly. ^^

Changing the names make sense but really it should have been done after 9-1-1. We should get rid of the name "Express" as its has been co-opted By Fed/Ex. Instead, Express Mail is the premium service of the Postal Service it should have been renamed "Premium Service." Not mail but service. As far as parcel post goes the name has been outdated for decades. Standard was also a mistake as it equates to it the norm of mailing services. Instead, it should have been titled "Economy" service. Make no mistake, there is no substitution for the correct branding to match the service of the United States Postal Service. 'Cause nobody does it better." It is definitively sad that rebranding name suggestions were not allowed prior to actually changing it.

"I mailed a package to my son two days ago and it was supposed to have been there yesterday. It had his passport in it and he needs to be on the plane today. I need you to find that package and get it delivered today, and I also want a refund because this Priority Mail 2 Day did not make it in 2 days."

"What do you mean you don't guarantee it?"

I can just see the complaints already. Take a number.

So it's still the same service with the word "Prioity" added. Yippee. Quit fiddling around with combined names, and learn how to ship quickly and accurately. This is just another way to confuse the customer, and all of the companies that give you an option for shipping a product to their customers. If the new name steals market share, but isn't any better, people will just stop using USPS altogether . This scam will make "The New Coke" look like a raging success.

NO! NO! NO! Half of USPS advertising for Express Mail came from customers being confused thinking "we" were FedEx and savvy SSAs picked up those customers by saying "we don't have FedEx but we have Express Mail. It will get it there overnight.". What do we say now? "oh we can send it Priority Express?" That kind of takes the punch away. And what about the tens of thousands of Express packaging in storage? I've been there. I know. The supply will be used for a month or two then thrown in a recycle bin, a huge waste of money. A stupid decision all the way around.

So you want to screw around with yet another name change, and for what reason? When Priority Mail came onto the scene, it was a joke. The USPS could no longer meet its own standard for delivering all mail going 500 miles or more in the continental US in 3 days or fewer. So, you come up with a new product because you couldn't meet your standard, and then proceed to slow down on the delivery of the remaining routine standard (sorry, that is NOT parcel post to those who know) First Class mail. And now you are playing with smoke and mirrors once again by renaming what, the Priority Mail AND the Express Mail? What does that mean, exactly?? So the customer has to decide on 1-, 2-, or 3-day service, which will mean much more time online to determine the postage for something you want to send, rather than just clicking ONCE on the product and service you want. You really know how to piss people off, don't you? You people at the HQ have lost it. A rose by any other name is still a rose. And many corporations have had to learn that the hard way.

I still have customers that refer to their mailing as 2nd, 3rd or 4th class mail.

Standard or Parcel Post . . . not a big deal. Still has the word "Post" and cannot get confused with another service.

Priority Express? . . . CONFUSING.
Don't they test out these name changes in house before making such a decision? This is the use of two words that clerks across the nation use to distinguish between two different services. And now the decision is to combine the names??? and yet have two different services????

If the USPS wants to be efficient, it wasn't with this decision.

The present Express mail and Priority Mail envelopes are of similar shape, color and size. Do you know how many times a clerk has to explain to a customer that they are using an Express mail envelope with a Priority mail label or that they used an Express mail label on a Priority mail envelope? Did anyone ask?? Customer gets frustrated, time is spent explaining and the product is thrown away to correct the mailing. The current set up had its faults. This latest decision has made it worse.

The poll is too late to even matter now. It's already a done deal.

If its not broke why fix it As a mailcarrier you change things to often..... So confusing to us.

This is an absolutely terrible change. Blending the Priority Mail and Express Mail names into "Priority Mail
Express" is very confusing and makes it much harder to distinguish these services when talking to a customer. Is it Priority Mail or is it Express Mail? These really are two completely separate services, Express Mail is normally delivered by a special Express Mail carrier, not the customer's regular postal carrier.

The naming and the day-specific branding (1-day, 2-day, 3 day) for Priority Mail also implies that Priority Mail (not Priority Mail Express aka Express Mail aka Overnight Shipping) has a delivery guarantee, which is not true. We expect to get calls from irate customers about packages not being delivered by the "guaranteed delivery date" that is actually now printed directly on the label. Imagine a customer receiving a package in three days but the label actually says "Priority Mail [2nd Day]" -- what would you expect that to mean?

As a business, we do the bulk of our shipments via USPS. For now. We shall see how well this change is received by our customers, and re-evaluate our shipping options down the line.

I agree. Imagine the million of dollars just to implement this chaotic, idiotic change - educating, advertising, supplies, implementation, etc. Whoever approved this change needs to go. USPS is already losing billions of dollars, this change is NOT cost effective. USPS should cut cost not create more waste. Someone is making $$ revenues, who could that be? Investigation should be in place.

How idiotic to make this kind of change, so confusing. To top it, USPS will have to spend thousand of dollars that it does not need to do, just for educating, advertising, training, supplies, implementation. Whoever in the management approved this waste of money deal needs to get fired. USPS is already losing billions and it does not need this change. It will create chaos not order. Overnight or Next Day Express would have the best name change if it NEEDS it. It will be consistent with other carriers name terms use.

I am a small business that uses the USPS DAILY. Forget the name game. That is just a needless distraction that has no VALUE whatsoever. Sure go make more boxes and envelopes and waste money all because you think one name is better than another. You need to replace your marketing guru.

Why not focus on helping small businesses in AMERICA grow by concentrating your efforts on making the INTERNATIONAL mail services AFFORDABLE AGAIN???! When I started out with my online business, I could ship a small piece of jewelry to Europe using PRIORITY mail for less than 5 bucks. It is PITIFUL what you have done to America's small businesses. You have seriously damaged our International sales revenue and we can no longer compete in that market.

If you make International mail more affordable... WE ALL WIN.

Ok I understand priority mail and express mail, but I just received a package that was priority express mail 2 day what is that? Is it express mail or priority mail? I thought Priority Express Mail was the same as Express Mail which meant overnight? HUH!! What is going on with the USPS? Haves the employees from top to bottom lost their minds. No wonder they are bleeding from all ends. Get a grip and leave things alone.

USPS Express Mail is printed on the label as 2 Day. Even for packages with the one day (next day) guaranteed delivery. USPS employees will look at the 2 day and abandon the package until the 2nd day even though it would clearly say the guaranteed delivery day is one day not two. This is causing massive confusion to both employees and consumers. I have shipped three packages so far and all three packages missed the guaranteed date (Packages were actually delivered in TWO days, not One day as promised by the guaranteed delivery and the tracking number). That is simply because of the confusing label. I am asking for my money back on all three packages now..
IF you want to change the name at least label it correctly.

Way to go, geniuses. Nothing like making your products even more confusing to the general public by prefixing "priority mail" to the express mail product. What dolt with a marketing degree right out of college came up with that brilliant plan? The general public is already ignorant enough of mail classes. Is it your plan to simply trick them into buying the express mail product by renaming it? If so, then maybe you're not so dumb, but you're certainly less trustworthy.

Ecommerce user here. Daily shipper of 4 to 10 packages, more around the holidays. You should have renamed Parcel Post to "Economy" and left Priority and Express alone. Now people will doubt whether the new "Priority Express" is overnight like the old "express mail" used to be.

As a shipper, I do appreciate the addition of free insurance and the clearer, more exact, estimated delivery times for Priority now. Thanks for that part.

The other name changes were really unecessary and will serve to confuse.

I have been wrestling with problems on my website, as USPS changed these names. For the past month, none of my orders have been working right because of these changes, that were highly unpublicized. I've spent hundreds of dollars on my tech guy trying to track this down, only to find that these changes went into effect without notice.

I have been on board with USPS and have been a huge supporter, but this has caused more headaches than I can even believe. What a bonehead move. It's cost me hundreds in expenses and probably thousands in lost sales.

I am unhappy with the name change to Priority express. It is very confusing.

no. they should name it snail-mail. I paid for certified mail on august 5th, for delivery august, 8th, and it just now getting processed- August 12th. not delivered yet. My father passed away; the info was important to us, not important to USPS. no wonder the organization is in trouble. this is not the first time this has happened. I just cant trust this service anymore.

do not use the revamped priority express service! I was expecting a package today by noon - guarenteed- and it is currently listed as undeliverable in some sort warehouse. the receipt i have shows correct zipcode but somehow in ended up in wrong sort facility. I even confirmed with the post office that shipped the package that address is correct. they have mis-sorted it and instead of looking at actual address lable they are sending back to sender. such bad service and I paid $40 for it! never using usps to ship packages EVER!

Only the USPS could create so much confusion, in such a widespread manner, with such idiocy.
I have seen scores of people in line at the Post Office, puzzled at why their online account, pre-printed
envelope has been returned to them. The reason:
DUH!!! One of the new ('"rebranded" ) envelope says PRIORITY MAIL,
while the other says: EXPRESS PRIORITY MAIL

What pin-headed cretin did this? The reason Express mail is declining is that it's TOO STUPIDLY EXPENSIVE.
"Pretending" it is "sort of like" PRIORITY MAIL by conflating the two envelopes is -- beltway thinking, pretending
to know anything about marketing.

Oh honestly. (Oh, and I just got ready to put a document in what I thought I'd brought home -- a Priority Mail
envelope, but guess what -- its the WRONG ONE. So I get to go back to the PO again. I'm sorry that whoever
did this is so wrongheaded, on every possible level. End of rant. (But seriously folks? Someone is getting paid
for such idiocy?)

I just found out about this, as I looked in vain for Express Mail schedules.

Who the devil do you think you're kidding? "Priority Mail is 20 times larger than Express Mail" and growing, and you fools think or claim it's because of the branding NAME ??

Priority Mail, deadly obviously, is popular because it's SO much cheaper than Express Mail, not because of its NAME. (And it theoretically gets delivery times back in the range USPS used to provide for regular mail.)

The new "branding" is insane and confusing on its face, as 90% of your poll responders indicate. What a horrible decision to blur the lines after so many years of training us that "Priority Mail" means "the level of mail service we used to provide" whilst "Express Mail" means "the overnight service that's like FedEx". You've managed to drastically diminish BOTH brands. Fools.

I can't get service for priority service now , how is changing a name = better service. USPS in NJ can not deliver the mail
in accordance with their own rules. As soon as the public knows what difficulties , inefficiencies mount up,USPS changes the rules to led to more uncertainty and poor delivery of the mail. Its a disgrace to the American people who fought wars for this country. I SENT A COPY OF THIS ON GOING COMPLAINT TO MY ELECTED OFFICALS.

Agreed with everyone else that this is a really bad idea. Ironic, I suppose, that months after their posts, ALL of the above commenters expressing their opinions about a name change... had their own names changed! Now they all read "Anonymous". Up until about 9/15/2013 their publicly (and voluntarily) posted names were allowed to stand, lending credence to their overwhelming complaints about this latest USPS boondoggle.

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Over the weekend we did an upgrade to our blog site and the upgrade defaulted the settings on the comments to "Anonymous". We believe we have it fixed now and for those who included their names with their comments, the names should be visible again. We apologize for the inconvenience.

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