on Nov 26th, 2012 in Ideas Worth Exploring | 18 comments
 
This holiday season many of us will find ourselves rushing from one errand to the next, often visiting a variety of stores to accomplish all of our tasks. Wouldn’t “one-stop shopping” be easier? Wouldn’t it be nice to get everything from shopping to wrapping to shipping taken care of in a single trip? Locations offering a multitude of services potentially increase foot traffic because of the convenience they offer. They also create opportunities for the company to sell more products and services to its customers. In other countries, such as Sweden and Australia, the trend has been toward placing postal counters in grocery stores and pharmacies, often located in shopping malls. Customers can buy stamps or ship their packages while they are shopping for food and other staples. In the United States, grocery and other retail stores sell stamps at check-out counters, but do not offer shipping options. Office supply and other approved shipping stores offer a range of Postal Service mailing services including Priority and Express mail. Customers find that using these stores for their mailing needs saves time and effort because many of these retail outlets have longer hours than post offices and are conveniently located. E-commerce and mobile commerce have proven to be a popular choice for consumers who enjoy the convenience of shopping at home. Online retailers ship directly to the purchaser’s home, or wrap and ship gift purchases directly to their recipients. If customers want to wrap the package or gift themselves, the Postal Service’s Carrier Pick-up service will retrieve the package at their doorstep for shipping. While e-commerce and mobile commerce can offer purchasing, wrapping, and shipping from home, some people prefer physically browsing and purchasing items from brick-and-mortar retail outlets. This holiday season, a shopper might first visit a retail outlet to make your purchases, go home and wrap the gifts, and then go back out to ship the item. That's at least three trips and two lines, just to send one package! Does shopping, purchasing, wrapping, and sending your item in one stop sound better? With postal counters in strategic locations, all of your needs could be met in one stop. Would gift-wrapping services be an added bonus? If Post Office functions could be moved into retail spaces, what areas or types of stores best lend themselves to this effort? Share your ideas in the comment section below.

18 Comments


I would love to do all that in one stop. But, I hate waiting in lines!
With the craziness of Black Friday and the days that follow, I steer clear brick and mortar locations as much as possible.

So, I tend to purchase things online, have them sent to me and then I wrap myself for the personal touch. Gift wrapping services would be nice, but only if there were tons of choices of paper, bows, ribbon, tags, etc. That would help me avoid a step and I'd be willing to pay more of a premium for it. I wonder if others would too?

Great idea!

Some locations, like Bed Bath & Beyond, offer little gift wrapping stations in the store. Maybe it’s the male in me speaking, but I wouldn’t mind paying a small fee for someone else to wrap and ship my gifts. They’d certainly do a much better job than I! Though, I wonder if customers would be able to ship gift wrapped items without the wrapping being torn in the process or the item being turned away.

Would gift wrapped items be required to be placed into shipping boxes, packages, etc.? What shipping requirements exist for gift wrapped items? If they don’t already, maybe USPS could offer some holiday themed shipping materials!

I often go into post offices and see long lines of people waiting for the next available clerk, but no one using the APC. Almost anything you can do at the counter can also be done at an APC.

As an alternative to gift-wrapping, how about holiday-themed Priority and Express Mail shipping containers?

I really like the holiday themed-boxes. And to SBD's point below, it could be extended to all holidays or themes throughout the year. For instance, I sent my nieces Halloween goodies in an envelope covered with pumpkin and ghost stickers that wouldn't stay put! A box covered in pumpkins would be a nice alternative!

I love that graphic! It really caught my attention -

I would LOVE to go to Target, buy a bunch of stuff, pick up some of those gift bags, check out... and then amble over to a Postal station right there in the store, drop it all into an express mail box and mail it.

It seems like the Postal Service is really looking at a great opportunity here - how about just giving it a try during the holiday season. It wouldn't even have to be all year long.

I would definitely take advantage of this service. Let someone else do all the work esp. during the holidays. ; )

It wouldn't have to be just for the holidays. Graduation, Mother's Day, Valentines Day. Business could be booming practically year round.

If I'm going to ship a gift anyway...I prefer to buy online and have the item shipped directly to the recipient. But if there is something I'm buying locally and am going to ship, it would be much more convenient to have shipping options available at the store I'm shopping at that match the store hours. Often I find myself driving around with the item I want to ship in my car until my availability matches up with my local Post Office's hours.

You can also schedule pickup from your home or office. Schedule online for whenever is convenient for you.

I think it is a great idea! The reason more people are shpping online is the time saving convenience. This service would add convenience for shoppers, bring more customers into the brick and mortar, reduce traffic in Post Offices, and increase the Postal Service's market share in the package industry during the busiest shipping time of the year.

MZA - great idea - holiday themed shipping material from the Postal Service!! Innovative...

One stop shopping is a dream come true. Specially, during holiday season. I am sure no one wants to spend hours buying, wrapping and shipping one gift. I wish all of it is available at one place in the department stores such as Macy's, Sears and JC Penny, just to name the few. It will make shopping and shipping a pleasant and convenient experience for all.

I shop on line and wrap myself, only because I don't have to send many packages. Bottom line, people do want many choices in a single shopping trip.

I think the Postal Service should seriously consider having APCs, kiosks or even storefronts in some of the busiest malls, so that people could go straight from shopping to getting their purchases shipped. I also believe Post Offices should offer pack and ship -- and even gift-wrapping -- services, all at a reasonable fee, of course. We need the money and have employees who are losing their jobs because of lack of work. It would be a win-win situation, in my opinion.

The mall would be a perfect location for this service! Also, maybe approved shippers could add this service. I don't think Office Depot is selling lost of office supplies the week before Christmas -- this could be another means to offer conveience to the customer!

The USPS YouTube channel is currently featuring a short video on holiday shipping. It's a great little video with shipping instructions and important dates.

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