Today’s topic in our week-long series on What America Wants from the Postal Service considers ways in which the Postal Service could generate revenue to sustain its operations. The Postal Service’s future financial health depends on its ability to generate revenue, as well as cut costs (yesterday’s blog topic). In the larger debate about reinventing the Postal Service’s business model, the topic of allowing the Postal Service to offer non-postal products and services frequently emerges.
Non-postal products and services might help the Postal Service continue to meet Americans’ needs in a world increasingly reliant on digital communications. Non-postal services could also contribute to the Postal Service’s bottom line through additional revenue, helping it cover the costs associated with providing universal service. Of course, the issue of non-postal services also concerns some people that feel that offering non-postal products creates unfair competition for the private sector.
Opportunities for the Postal Service include providing access to government services, such as licenses and permits, allowing for collection of social benefits, or providing options for bill pay at Post Office locations. These types of government services are not too dissimilar from services already available from the Postal Service, such as passport applications.
Results of our web-based survey of 5,000 Internet-connected Americans aged 18 years and older indicated that nearly half of respondents expressed interest in having more services available at the Post Office. Most of these respondents were particularly interested in accessing government services such as driver’s license renewal services, request for permits or licenses, or paying bills.