Enhancing the Value of Mail-The Human Response

RARC-WP-15-012 - 06/15/2015

Advertising mail accounted for over $20 billion — or 31 percent — of the U.S. Postal Service’s total revenue in fiscal year 2014. However, marketers have increasingly numerous choices of media available to them in today’s rapidly growing digital world. Understanding physical ad mail’s unique qualities and how people respond to them could enable the Postal Service to identify potential new opportunities to maintain and enhance this critically important source of revenue.

Postal Service Could Save Lease Costs by Using Market Rates

SM-WP-15-002 - 05/12/2015

The U.S. Postal Service spends more than $800 million each year to lease 23,000 buildings across the country. We took a closer look at the leases in the Eastern Area, one of seven postal areas. We found the Postal Service could potentially shave off $2.2 million out of $111 million in annual lease costs in that area by renegotiating 77 leases that are due to expire over the next 2 years. 

Read the Full Report

New Technology Could Help Reduce UAA Mail

MS-MA-15-006 - 05/01/2015

Undeliverable as addressed (UAA) mail is costly for the U.S. Postal Service and the mailing industry. Efforts to get a handle on the problem have been unsuccessful, as evidenced by the 2.1 percent increase in UAA mail from fiscal year (FY) 2011 to FY 2014. The Postal Service, mailers, and consumers all share responsibility for UAA mail.

Examining the Road Ahead for Postal Financial Services

More than a quarter of households in this country either don’t have a bank account, or have an account but also rely on often expensive alternative financial services like check cashing and payday lending. These underserved households are looking for more affordable options, and the U.S. Postal Service may be able to help.

Functionality Issues Cause RSS Delay

MI-AR-15-002 - 03/13/2015

The U.S. Postal Service is replacing its existing retail point-of-service software, including software used in self-service kiosks, with a new Retail Systems Software (RSS). We recently took a look at this program and found that during pilot testing there were a number of functionality issues, such as screen freezes. Also, we found some help desk employees need more training and did not always provide timely responses.

We concluded the RSS deployment schedule is too aggressive because of limited pilot testing of the technology.

Package Returns and Forwarding Present New Revenue Opportunities

MS-WP-15-001 - 03/09/2015

The package delivery market is an important and growing segment of the U.S. economy, with businesses and consumers having spent more than $68 billion in 2013 to ship packages domestically. As part of this package activity, goods sometimes need to be returned to the merchant or forwarded to a different address. The domestic returns business is worth an estimated $3 billion annually and will likely hit $4 billion by 2016.

Modes of Delivery and Advertising Mail Customer Engagement

RARC-WP-15-009 - 04/20/15

Delivery to curbside mailboxes or neighborhood cluster box units costs less than delivery to the door. But do curbside and cluster box delivery result in a lower level of customer engagement with mail? To find out, the Office of inspector General (OIG) asked the market research firm InfoTrends Inc. to conduct a survey of 5,000 postal customers. The OIG then asked Professor Michael Bradley of George Washington to analyze the survey data to determine how customer engagement with advertising mail varied by mode of delivery.

Rethinking Assumptions

Considerations in Structuring Estimated Liabilities – White Paper FT-WP-15-003 – 01/23/2015

The U.S. Postal Service is required to prefund its long-term pension and retiree healthcare liabilities. These liabilities, currently estimated at almost $404 billion, are based on assumptions that are highly uncertain and changeable. Our recent white paper evaluates these assumptions and other considerations and shows the retiree-related liabilities are closer to being fully funded, or could even be overfunded, when certain assumptions are reasonably adjusted or considered.

Will The Check Be in the Mail? An Examination of Transactional Mail

RARC-WP-15-006 - 02/09/2015

By now, it’s fairly common knowledge that digital communications has cut into First-Class Mail volumes. But does this necessarily mean people always prefer to communicate digitally? To find out, we looked at the trends and customer preferences for one particular mail segment – transactional mail, which consists primarily of household bills and payments.

Estimating the Value of the U.S. Postal Service Brand

RARC-WP-15-005 - 01/28/2015

A corporate brand is a mix of tangible and intangible elements, from a company's name and logo to expectations and attributes that consumers associate with a particular product or service. A certain car manufacturer, for example, may make people think of luxury and reliability. A particular retailer may immediately bring to mind everyday goods at low prices.

The U.S. Postal Service has a corporate brand, too. Its attributes include reliability, convenience, value, and tradition, among other things.

eCommerce Customers Want Flexible Package Payment Options

Parcel Payment Technologies and Payment Strategies - White Paper FT-WP-15-001 – 11/19/2014

As consumers and small businesses increasingly use computers, smartphones, tablets and other devices to buy and sell goods, there is a growing demand for flexible ways to buy services to ship these goods. The Postal Service lags behind its primary competitors in offering technology-savvy customers mobile applications and credit services to pay for packages and shipping.