Shipping Services Now On Sale

Shipping services on sale

Through the 27th of this month, the United Kingdom’s Post Office is offering a summer sale incentive to customers using its Drop & Go service.

Customers can receive a discount of up to 50 percent when they choose to ship Medium Parcels via the Drop & Go service. The Small Parcel-equivalent pricing gives those wishing to try out the service the opportunity to do so with a healthy financial incentive.

Drop & Go is a service that allows higher volume customers to quickly drop off their mailing at the Post Office without waiting in line. To use the service, a customer signs up at a local office and pre-pays the new Drop & Go account. When the customer has a mailing to send, he or she heads to the fast track counter where the clerk performs a quick check of the item and ensures the customer’s account has enough funds to pay for it. After a few moments, the customer departs the office and the item is on its way.

Two forms of ID are required to sign up for the service and the application must be submitted in person.

Do you think USPS should offer a 50 percent off sale for its Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate shipping service to attract new business?

Locked In

The Postal Service pioneered its own gopost parcel lockers beginning in 2012.

The Postal Service pioneered its own gopost parcel lockers beginning in 2012.

The state-owned postal services in Brazil and Spain are the latest to introduce automated parcel lockers to improve customer convenience. Customers can designate the lockers as collection points when making online purchases.

The lockers are expected to boost e-commerce activity in two ways; by allowing consumers to receive deliveries without having to be at home during the day, and by offering extended operating hours.

In Brazil, customers receive access codes via email or text message allowing them to open the secure lockers; in Spain, they receive a barcode for the same purpose.

E-commerce consumers in Spain will be able to collect their purchases 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Brazil also will offer extended hours.

A number of countries offer — or are testing — parcel lockers, including Australia, the United Kingdom, France, China and others. The U.S. Postal Service pioneered its own gopost parcel lockers beginning in 2012. Since then they have been piloted in locations within the New York City and Washington, DC, metro areas.

Making a Difference

Making a difference

Mark Denbrook is thankful for his postal hero CCA Jason Westby.

Mark Denbrook was having a flashback. The retired Hibbing, MN, teacher suffers from an inner ear disorder that can affect his balance. Recently while walking his two small dogs, he suddenly felt dizzy and fell face down to the ground.

“To steal the line from the commercial, I’d fallen and I couldn’t get up,” Denbrook later told the Hibbing Daily Tribune.

Just then, Hibbing City Carrier Assistant Jason Westby (who was in his first week on the job) had turned into the alley where Denbrook had fallen. Westby rushed up with cell phone in hand and asked Denbrook if he wanted him to call 911. Denbrook was alert and answered that he thought if he could get to his feet he would be all right.

Westby and a passerby then helped him up, checked to make sure he was steady, and observed Denbrook as he walked to his home to make sure he made it safely. Except for a couple of bumps and scrapes, Denbrook was fine and recovered quickly. (Photo courtesy of Kelly Grinsteinner, Hibbing Daily Tribune)

On a Cloudy Day

On a cloudy day

This image of the Mississippi River taken along the Stone Arch Bridge passes directly next to the Main Post Office in Minneapolis, MN. The sound of flowing water can sometimes be a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of the large office on a busy day.

Melodic sounds are sometimes associated with a more pleasant demeanor and brighter outlook throughout one’s day. They’ve also been known to help increase motivation when the end of the day needs a little encouragement to appear.

When you have the opportunity to listen to sounds, music, or other forms of audio motivation, what do you choose to listen to?

Birthday Cards for Boy Battling Cancer

Birthday cards

Struggling with life-threatening cancer is one of the most difficult challenges someone can face. For 5-year-old Danny Nickerson, looking forward to his upcoming birthday is giving him the optimism he needs – with the help of a special type of gift.

Birthday cards are all the soon to be 6-year-old wants for his birthday on July 25. Diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, Danny wishes to enjoy the sight of many birthday cards with his name written on them to help celebrate his special day.

To send Danny a message for his birthday, address it to:

Danny Nickerson
PO Box 212
Foxboro, MA 02035

To read more about Danny’s story, click here.

Shipper Partners with Retail Outlet

Shipper partners with retail outlet

Recently, FedEx announced a partnership with Home Hardware Stores Limited, a Canadian-based home improvement center, to offer full-service shipping solution centers to customers within Home Hardware stores. Implementation is expected to roll out in phases over the course of the year.

Each store is operated by an independent “Home Owner,” and each owner will evaluate the in-house shipping center for possible inclusion in their store.

In its official announcement, FedEx states that the partnership will give “…online shoppers more points-of-access options to meet their shipping needs.” Both companies expect the partnership to yield beneficial results for their customers.

Home Hardware, founded in 1964, has annual sales of $5.4 billion from the nearly 1,100 retail locations throughout Canada. President and CEO of Home Hardware Paul Straus states in the partnership announcement, “This exciting alliance with FedEx Express Canada is one of the many ways in which we continue to innovate to add more value to our customers’ shopping experience.”

As companies look for opportunities to increase brand awareness and product access to customers going forward, additional alliances similar to the FedEx/Home Hardware partnership are likely to unfold.

Click It

Click it

When entering any automobile, do you click your seat belt each and every time you get in?

Whether you’re a driver or a passenger, no excuse to avoid wearing one is worth the risk of severe injury – or worse.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the use of seat belts saved 12,174 lives in 2012. If 3,031 other individuals had chosen to wear their seat belts that same year, their lives would have been saved as well.

Each and every time you enter a vehicle, make safety your first priority by strapping on the seat belt before you turn on the ignition.

Billings Clerk Hatches Plan to Save Baby Chicks

General Expeditor Brenda Hansen with a healthy hatchling.

General Expeditor Brenda Hansen with a healthy hatchling.

Hatcheries frequently ship baby chicks through the mail. The process is both safe and convenient, ensuring that the young chicks reach their destination alive and well. Baby chicks can survive for three days without food or water by relying on their yolk sac for sustenance, but when a particular shipment of baby chicks went unclaimed for more than two days, Brenda Hansen knew their welfare was in jeopardy.

Hansen is a tour 3 general expeditor at the Billings Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC). When her facility received eight dozen baby chicks without a delivery or return address, she became concerned. After two days passed by without word from their owners, Hansen knew she had to act. That’s when she volunteered to care for them at her home until a new one could be found.

“Ms. Hansen has chickens of her own so she had space to care for them,” said Billings P&DC Manager David Brown. “Not many people would volunteer their time and space to step up and care for the birds.”

Though the owners never claimed the chicks, Broadview Post Office Officer in Charge Adele Ballard and Postmaster Relief Jayne Lee managed to locate a family that agreed to adopt them.

“I would like to recognize all three ladies with their combined efforts is the survival of the 96 chicks,” said Brown.

Augmented Reality

Sample Augmented Reality navigation image.

Sample Augmented Reality navigation image.

In a popular movie about a cyborg that travels back in time to alter the future, the metallic creation uses an enhanced visual display to provide it with critical information. The data, ranging from the dimensions of objects to environmental conditions, is overlaid onto the live visual display of the cyborg’s vision. While this might have seemed like a vision of futuristic fantasy when the movie was originally released in the 1980s, the reality of modern technology has made such visual displays readily available to the general public through standard smartphones.

Augmented Reality (AR) is seen in everything from sports games, to GPS navigation, to medical process enhancements, and in recent years, has migrated its way into applications for smartphones. One of the growing uses of such smartphone apps is to scan mail items enhanced with AR technology.

Similar to facial recognition technology, application software uses a mobile device’s built-in camera to scan and recognize an image printed on a mail piece. The technology then utilizes the characteristics of a specific image to trigger a digital response, displaying videos, an assortment of widgets and other useful information.

While use of the technology is expanding every year, potential applications of its abilities are still in the infancy stage of development.

How do you see AR technology expanding in the coming years?

Your Snacks Are in the Mail

Your snakcs are in the mail

Many people enjoy a pleasant surprise in the mail every now and then, and more frequently when possible. With a particular service introduced by a handful of companies, that pleasant surprise could become a snacking delight.

Several companies offer customers the opportunity to receive snacks in the mail through a subscription-based service. Each company offers customers a variety of options to tailor the experience to unique tastes such as volume of content, frequency of delivery, or any particular ingredient preferences such as sugar or gluten free content. Customers may or may not be able to select the particular snacks they wish to receive each month depending on company options, but even when snack connoisseurs are unable to choose specific items, they can usually identify an item type they’d like to try in the future.

Companies involved in treat deliveries include:

With an anticipatory sense of wonder at specific content, a box of treats might be a good way to reward someone, or oneself, with a well-deserved surprise in the mail.

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