USPS RATE CHANGES
The changes are not all bad, with some prices remaining the same or even being reduced. Among the lowered prices are First-Class 1oz flats, and some Parcel Select. Prices for First-Class 1oz letter stamps and General Domestic Priority Mail are remaining unchanged. Costs for many popular classes of mail are going up, however, including:
· Metered First-Class letters (48¢ to 48.5¢)
· First-Class postcards (34¢ to 35¢)
· Flat-Rate Domestic Priority Mail
· International Priority Mail (5.5% increase on average)
· International First-Class Mail ($1.15 to $1.20)
· Global Express
· First-Class Packages (5.1% increase on average)
· Parcel Select (ground packages)
· Media Mail
Many of the USPS’s extra service fees are going up after the 31st as well, with most going up by ten cents or more. Electronic return receipts, on the other hand, are only going up a nickel from $1.35 to $1.40; and tracking for Library and Media Mail (except for standard mail, which will cost $0.36 per piece) will be free (with IMB and IMPB USPS).
International Priority Mail for Canada will switch to zone based pricing, with 7 zones versus a single rate for the whole country; although, Priority Mail rates will remain unchanged which allows shippers to capitalize on the lower September 2014 rates. A proposed change which is still pending approval is the transformation of First-Class Mail Parcel (Retail) to First-Class Package Service (FCPS), adding a Retail pricing tier to the existing ones for FCPS.
POSTAL SERVICE PROMOTION DISCOUNTS
Aside from the rate changes, there is some good news for mailers: beginning in the next few months and continuing until late this year, the USPS is offering several several promotions to encourage mailers to diversify the ways they use mail. The promotions are intended to improve mailer engagement in several areas, and will result in upfront discounts. Two of the promotions, beginning in June, will offer discounts based on the dynamic use of color in mail and for the integration of technology in mail. The third, which begins in July, is intended to drive mobile engagement.
The “Color Transpromo Promotion” beginning on June 1 will provide mailers with discounts based on the use of color print technology on their bills and statements. The USPS hopes that this will encourage mailers to use color more frequently, and more dynamically. Aside from simply using color (and who doesn’t need a bit more color in their life?) the USPS is hoping that this promotion will encourage mailers to invest in the technology required to use more and varied colors in their transactional mail. The promotion will continue until November 30, and will result in a 2% discount on all eligible postage, which includes First-Class Mail commercial letters which are part of IMb® Full-Service mailing.
The second promotion, the “2015 Emerging and Advanced Technology Promotion” is meant to get mailers to combine their direct mail with some sort of interactive or “augmented reality” technology (technology that is meant to create an immersive experience for the customer, encouraging active participation, such as gamification or 3D animation). The promotion builds on previous promotions, and continues the USPS’s strategy of fostering new advances in print. This includes “innovations in paper and ink, the use of standard NFC technology, or an ‘advanced’ or ‘enhanced’ augmented reality experience …”. The promotion ends on November 30.
The third and final promotion is the “2015 Mail Drives Mobile Engagement Promotion.” Starting on July 1 and going until the end of the year (December 31,) mailers will receive a discount for demonstrating how direct mail can be combined with mobile technology. The USPS is hoping to encourage customers to “adopt and invest in technologies that enhance how consumers interact and engage with mail …”. The integration of an element of mobile technology with mail (such as bar-codes or other mobile technologies which can be scanned by a mobile device to access a mobile site) will be rewarded with a 2% discount on all Standard Mail letters and flats, and all Nonprofit Standard Mail letters and flats.
Questions about these promotions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org, and a calendar of the USPS promotions offered this year can be viewed here.