The Pushing the Envelope blog recently described some of the barriers that have prevented the Postal Service from optimizing its network of retail facilities. This week we’d like your thoughts on the factors the Postal Service should consider in developing a retail network for the future. If the Postal Service were to rebuild its retail network from scratch — focusing on today’s consumer behaviors and needs — would it look as it does now? Today, there are about 32,000 brick and mortar postal-operated retail facilities. However, the Postal Service generates about 35 percent of retail revenue through alternative access channels. For example, customers can buy stamps and access postal services at, self-service kiosks, grocery stores, retail outlets, and privately operated shipper locations. The availability of alternatives combined with declining mail volume and changing consumer needs has led the Postal Service to renew its efforts to optimize the retail facility network.

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[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"8515","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":"","title":"More...","alt":""}}]]In recent months, the Postal Service has initiated action to address some of the institutional barriers that have inhibited modernizing the postal retail network. For example, in July 2011, the agency published final rules to improve the Post Office™ closing and consolidation process. However, public debate looms over this initiative. Numerous news articles have circulated about the Postal Service’s plan to study thousands of retail facilities for discontinuance opportunities, some questioning whether the final rules conflict with postal laws. Others maintain that Post Offices are essential to keeping communities connected and businesses strong and therefore should remain open even if they are not profitable.

What should the Postal Service consider as it seeks to transform its retail network to meet future consumer needs?

This blog is hosted by the OIG’s Network Optimization Directorate.

Comments (5)

  • anon

    July 2011 marked a new beginning for the Postal Services with the publishing of new rules to improve the Post Office

    Dec 20, 2011
  • anon

    I understand the Postal Service would like to encourage more people to collect stamps. I have collected US stamps for 58 years and it's been fun----until the self stick stamps came along. Some will soak off paper easily and others will not come off even if they are soaked for an hour and then they are ruined. This may not be a big deal to the powers that be, but this is one frustrated collector. Is it possible to be consistent with the glueused on all stamps?

    Sep 26, 2011
  • anon

    Over twenty years ago, when I started my postal career, I was truely proud of the history, the service to the nation, and my part of such an important process. No one seems to remember our history. For over 200 years we were the reliable, rock solid, source of information, goods, and government processes. We were the center of business and social interaction in small communities across the country. In fact, in more places than you realize, we still are. It broke my heart a few years ago when I started seeing acres of blue mail collection boxes pulled from city streets because an analyst determined they didn't produce enough revenue. No regard to community needs and public service. Now post offices are being closed that are integral parts of small communities because they don't bring in a minimume threshold of revenue. No regard to community needs and public service. Headquarters teams are coming to the West where real estate prices are highest to sell postal properies for fast cash. Are they considering the needs of community and public service? We have seen this pattern before in municipal government. To pay for programs or salaries, property is sold, only to incure huge costs later in leases and new purchases. The post office does not sell municiple bonds to restore itself from it's mistakes like local government likes to do. Lose those facilities, break that promise to small town America, sell out now for fast cash, and we may never regain our ability to do what is our founding purpose. Serve all Americans. What I see coming by 2020 is not good. I see poorer service, loss of public trust, and an even greater debt caused by shortcuts and sell outs happening today. What I would like to see in 2020 is a leaner PO. more automated teller machines. fewer delivery days, a greater emphisis on parcel delivery, a simpler and more understandable rate system, the leasing of post office space inside ooperating post offices to other municiple organizations that need their own presence in the community. The world is changing, and by all means the Post Office needs to change. Just don't forget where you came from, and what an important job we are here to do.

    Sep 01, 2011
  • anon

    Look up Borders on Wikipedia............... It should look like Borders stores. 25-40% brick & mortar closed, 20% retail, 60% electronic media, 10% transportation, 10% management. Just my best guess???????? Who Knows.... I already tweeted similar to this.

    Sep 01, 2011
  • anon

    having a package stolen or lost in the past week what a joke usps is. first they dont know then rude towards me a paying customer. perhaps if it were there money being stolen they would react different. and try at least to resolve this. and signature confirmation does not provide and more? they let anyone sign for package. i have proof i paid for it to be mailed to my customer and yet usps allows another person to sign for package.

    Aug 29, 2011

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