Get It Back – Package Intercept Helps Customers Redirect Sent Packages

Package intercept

For customers who change their mind about sending a trackable package after they’ve already dropped it in the mail, there is good news.

USPS offers Package Intercept, a service that allows customers to redirect shipments that haven’t been delivered or released for delivery. Customers who use the service can have a package or mailpiece redirected to a different address, returned to the sender or held at a Post Office for pickup.

For customers who’d like to take advantage of this service, visit usps.com to learn more.

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Priority Mail Popular at Sturgis Rally

Photo by Sturgis, SD, Postmaster Lyle La Croix.

Photo by Sturgis, SD, Postmaster Lyle La Croix.

During the 75th anniversary of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally last week in Sturgis, SD, motorcycle enthusiasts from around the country gathered to share their passions with like-minded individuals.

Sturgis3

To celebrate the special occasion, the Postal Service had a unique Priority Mail box designed for those who wanted to take home mementos of their visit, but didn’t have the space in their vehicles to accommodate them. Event attendees packaged their keepsakes in the unique boxes and sent them to their home addresses, knowing that the items will be waiting for them when they return home.

Photo by Sturgis, SD, Postmaster Lyle La Croix.

Photo by Sturgis, SD, Postmaster Lyle La Croix.

Crowd GPS Could be Beacon of the Future

Crowd GPS

New innovations in technology have created the ability to track items that individuals may have misplaced. From lost keys to vanishing remote controls, finding objects can sometimes prove difficult if one’s memory isn’t functioning at full capacity. When that happens, there are a variety of companies that have developed devices to track such missing items with a simple press of a button.

Manufacturers such as TrackR, Tile, and Bringrr offer a similar product – small, thin objects roughly the size of a quarter that can be attached to items an individual wants to track. The objects connect with a user’s phone via Bluetooth technology and a specialized application tracking software. If a person loses a set of key with a tracking object attached, the individual can locate the item through the application. These tracking objects have a limited range of about 100-150 feet though, so they have to use a crowd GPS feature to find items further out of reach.

Unlike GPS-enabled navigation devices, crowd GPS doesn’t use a satellite to locate objects. Instead, it relies on other phones using the same tracking software. These applications connect with sibling applications on other phones, establishing a global network to track missing items within range of a phone connected to the network. The information shared among other phones in the network is anonymous, and only an individual’s lost object location will appear on that person’s phone, if it’s detected.

There is a downside to crowd GPS. If someone loses an item outside the range of his or her phone, that person must rely on the presence of another phone running the same application to be in close proximity to the missing item. In densely populated cities, this might not be an issue. But for individuals living in smaller communities, it might be some time before another phone with the same application picks up the missing item.

The purchase of a tracking chip could very well be worth the expense for those keys, remotes and other objects that have a tendency to disappear from time to time. Then again, if one forgets both the location of the tracking chip and cell phone, the situation could prove problematic.

Do you think such tracking devices could be used to track packages as they make their way through a delivery network?

Crowdsourced Delivery

smart car

The popularity of crowdfunding websites has grown significantly over the past several years. Many projects such as movies, books, games and more have been funded by individuals interested in donating money to the cause, usually in exchange for a form of compensation directly tied to the success of the project. In a version of the crowdsourcing phenomenon, one particular e-tailer is looking to modify the concept to suit another purpose.

Capitalizing on the proliferation of smartphones, Amazon in developing a mobile application that will allow individuals who want to earn a little extra cash the chance to do so by delivering packages. Designed to cut growing shipping costs for the company, the application will give drivers the opportunity to pick up a package for an Amazon customer and deliver it quickly to its destination. A driver will only receive packages for delivery with destinations that are closely aligned with the driver’s existing plans.

Theoretically, a driver using the application could pick up an Amazon package and deliver it to a customer on the way to work, on the way home from work, or even on the way to a dinner date. While specifics on the application and how it works are still in development, its success hinges largely on consistently reliable drivers and the ability to deliver a product on time.

If it’s successfully executed, do you think Amazon’s croudsourced package delivery could be a prototype delivery model of the future?

Could Packages Be the Next Advertising Opportunity?

Package ad

 

They’re abundant in auto racing, cycling, and on many hats and shirts of tournament poker players. They cover bulletin boards, buildings and stadiums. Wherever they’re placed, advertising logos and messages capture the attention of many who come across them. With the continued proliferation of ads, could packages present a new surface to sell advertising space?

To boost awareness of the soon to be released Minions movie, Amazon.com has developed new packaging in which to send consumer goods. The new, yellow boxes feature unique characters from the movie and will grace Amazon packaging through the release date of the movie in theaters.

According to its latest Form 10-Q financial statement, Amazon.com incurred than $1 billion in net shipping costs during the first three months of 2015. Revenue generated from the new Minions advertising campaign may have the effect of partially offsetting the loss in shipping charges that currently burdens Amazon revenue, though it’s unlikely to have a significant impact with the single ad campaign effort.

If other product providers find value in making similar moves with product packaging, parcel carriers may soon find their vehicles loaded with everything from superhero characters to spaceships and laser swords later this year.

Do you think USPS packaging should contain ads for non-organization-related products to generate additional revenue?

DIM Weight Matters

DIM weight matters

FedEx Ground and UPS Ground recently restructured their pricing plans for domestic ground shipments that utilize dimensional (DIM) weight pricing on most packages. This means that shippers will be charged whichever is greater, the actual weight or the DIM weight. This is the same price structure FedEx Express and UPS use for air shipments based on the amount of space in the cargo area of a plane. Parcels less than 3 cubic feet shipped via FedEx Ground and UPS Ground have previously been exempt from DIM pricing (charged instead according to actual weight).

What exactly is DIM weight? DIM weight is based off of a package’s cubic size, which you can calculate by multiplying its length, width, and height. Shipping companies then use a volumetric divisor to determine the DIM weight. FedEx and UPS use 166 as the volumetric divisor for domestic packages, while USPS uses 194. Not only will a package’s DIM weight always be lower with the USPS, USPS only applies dimensional weight pricing to Priority Mail packages greater than a cubic foot and shipping to Zones 5 to 9.

Shippers have several options to deal with the increased cost of their packages. They can reduce the cubic dimensions of parcels, pay higher charges, or consider shipping with the Postal Service. Unlike it’s competitors, the Postal Service is not implementing any new dimensional weight charges, and there are a variety of efficient and economical shipping solutions from USPS that can help ease the cost of sending a package.

For more information on USPS shipping options, go to usps.com/options.

Real-time Package Tracking

Radio frequency identification

When someone orders an item online, one of the most important details sent at the end of the transaction is a package tracking number. This unique identification code offers shoppers the opportunity to follow their eagerly anticipated items as they make their way to doorsteps across America. While a measure of visibility is offered by a tracking number, the offer is only as valid as the last scan of the package. A different type of tracking method could offer a continually updated location that represents the next evolution of visibility.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags are employed in many applications world-wide. They’re used to track animals, library books, and even people in certain circumstances, and can even contain information necessary to conduct financial transactions. They can also be used to track packages.

Packages contain the hopes, desires, and needs of those who send and receive them. To more efficiently track the whereabouts of these precious items, an RFID tag could be offered as a purchase option for individuals who wish to have up-to-the-second visibility of their package. A small, paper-thin RFID chip can be encoded and printed on a sticker, placed on a package, and the unique tag code provided to the purchaser. The cost of the label can vary depending on the type purchased, but there are many model types that cost less than $1.

The cost of the tag itself isn’t the only consideration, however, as the equipment needed to detect the tags would have to be installed in facilities and vehicles throughout the delivery organization. The initial cost of developing and installing tracking mechanisms could be prohibitive to many organizations, but may yield significant financial advantages in the years afterward.

In a world where more people are switching to the convenience and diversified experience of online shopping every year, those shippers that offer the greatest experience for their customers will the ones poised to become the providers of choice by eager customers.

What obstacles do you see that might interfere with the universal adoption of real-time package tracking technology?

My USPS

MyUSPS

The Postal Service recently introduced My.USPS.com, an innovative tool customers can use to help them know where their packages are at pickup, final delivery, and points in between.

Using USPS Tracking, My USPS lets customers see up to 11 scans per shipment and receive text alerts on their phones. Packages will also automatically appear in a customer’s My USPS dashboard without the need to enter a tracking number.

My USPS can be accessed by going to http://my.usps.com.

MyUSPSbenefits

Trunk Delivery

Postal kid

Creighton Wilkinson, son of Lawson, MO, Postmaster Chris Wilkinson, enjoys making the rounds during Halloween.

 

Busy lifestyles rarely lend themselves to an abundance of spare time. Pausing to complete tasks such as watering the yard, taking out the trash, and other important responsibilities might take time away from other pressing matters. The same can also be true for waiting on the delivery of a package. With that in mind, a potential plan from a shipping company might have an interesting solution for people on the go.

DHL, a subsidiary of Deutsche Post AG, is currently working with Volvo to introduce a method for package recipients to have their items delivered to the trunks of their vehicles. If the plan comes to fruition, a customer could instruct the shipper to deliver an expected item to the trunk of his or her Volvo. The delivery driver would have one-time access to the trunk for package drop off, but only after the customer accepts the package via text prior to delivery.

The shipper is currently in talks with other vehicle manufacturers about the potential to introduce trunk delivery to owners of other vehicle types as well. If the plan becomes reality, package recipients may have the opportunity to avoid waiting for delivery or travelling to a distribution facility to pick up their special items.

Do you think the U.S. Postal Service could forge a deal with automotive manufacturers to create a similar delivery option for its customers?

Celebrate Winter with Special Priority Mail Packaging

PM winter 1

A variety of winter-infused Priority Mail boxes has arrived just in time for the holidays.

Available now for a limited time, four new holiday designs will adorn small, large, and two medium-sized Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes. The special artwork provides an appealing way to spread winter cheer to lucky recipients of package contents.

The new designs can be yours by visiting usps.com or your local Post Office.

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