U.S. Postal Service: Overview of Initiatives to Increase Revenue and Introduce Nonpostal Services and Experimental Postal Products Page: 30 of 37
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Appendix IV: Description of Ongoing USPS
Initiatives, as of November 14, 2012
No. Initiative Name Description Reason
1 2nd Ounce Free 2nd Ounce Free enables large mailers, such as banks, to send twice as much mail for the Slow erosion,
one-ounce price. According to USPS, this product allows mailers to use the second ounce add value
for operational or marketing purposes which increases the potential value of their mailings.
2 Alternative Postage Alternate Postage Payment removes a step in the mailing process because it enables Add value
Payment consumers to send greeting cards without affixing postage. According to USPS, the
alternative payment method makes it easier and more convenient for customers to
purchase and mail cards because they do not have to determine and affix the proper
postage before mailing. Instead, the cost of postage is included (prepaid) in the price
consumers pay for the card. USPS introduced this product as an experimental product in
January 2011 and, according to USPS, expects to seek its approval as a permanent
product at a later date. Appendix II provides additional information on this product
3 IMb-based USPS is pursuing a pricing incentive that will offer customers a higher discount for sending Add value
Initiatives First-Class Mail that meets its Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) requirements. According to
USPS, this initiative supports USPS's goal of increasing adoption of its intelligent
barcodes that, among other things, enhances USPS's mail-processing efficiency and
increases its ability to track the location of mail as it moves through the mail stream.
4 Negotiated Service This initiative targets USPS's largest mailers of First-Class Mail and Standard Mail and is Slow erosion
Agreements/ carried out through negotiated service agreements between the parties. Participating
Total Customer mailers will receive reduced postage costs if they meet specified volume commitments.
Value Contracts According to USPS, the initiative may be extended to other product categories if it is
5 Picture Permit This initiative allows mailers to enhance the "indicia" area (i.e., the postage block area) of Add value,
Imprint Indicia a mail piece with a picture or image, including mobile barcodes. According to USPS, the support
images can be used to advertise brands, bring immediate attention to the mail piece, and
potentially improve the rate in which mail is opened.
6 Product This initiative represents USPS's ongoing process to analyze its First-Class Mail product Support
Rationalization and and service offerings. The analysis is intended to result in, among other things, the
Simplification continuous simplification of mail offerings, the optimization of USPS's First-Class Mail
products in the marketplace, and the elimination of product redundancies. In addition,
USPS hopes to reduce the cost and complexity of its customers' mailings and identify
gaps between product features and customer needs. According to USPS, the introduction
of its 2nd Ounce Free initiative was a direct result of this effort.
7 Stamps This initiative is intended to increase USPS's sales of stamps and philatelic products. Add value
Specifically, USPS said it intended to renew its emphasis on properly marketing and
displaying stamps and philatelic products in its retail locations and to expand its Forever
stamp pricing to its collectible stamp program.
8 2012 Holiday Mobile This promotion ran between November 7-21, 2012, and offered business mailers an Add value,
Shopping Promotion upfront 2-percent postage discount on qualifying mailings. To qualify, the mailings had to slow erosion
include a two-dimensional barcode that when read or scanned by a mobile device, linked
the recipient to a website for purchasing the advertised product. According to USPS, by
delivering mobile-optimized promotional offers, coupons, and catalogs to customers in
time for the Black Friday-Cyber Monday shopping sprees, the initiative was intended to
spur mobile purchasing.
GAO-13-216 U.S. Postal Service
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United States. Government Accountability Office. U.S. Postal Service: Overview of Initiatives to Increase Revenue and Introduce Nonpostal Services and Experimental Postal Products, report, January 15, 2013; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc298921/m1/30/: accessed October 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.