The U.S. Postal Service is launching a set of four new fast delivery solutions, including one specifically aimed at local businesses.
Known as USPS Connect, the set of solutions offers several options designed to help meet growing consumer demand for affordable, fast local, regional, and national deliveries and returns. According to the U.S. Postal Service, the solutions leverage ongoing network improvements, new equipment, and new pricing.
- USPS Connect Local is rolling out in select locations starting Tuesday, Feb. 22. 2022. USPS Connect Local offers next-day service in all locations, with same-day delivery, Sunday delivery and pickup options in select locations. This offering also includes USPS Connect Local Mail, a first-class mail option for documents up to 13 ounces.
Businesses can enter USPS Connect Local packages and mail at the receiving dock of a designated postal facility or utilize free en-route pickup when their carrier delivers their mail. Free flat-rate bags, boxes and envelopes are available via the U.S. Postal Service click-n-ship service.
- USPS Connect Regional provides next-day regional entry and delivery of U.S. Postal Service Parcel Select and Parcel Select Lightweight packages. Most packages will be delivered the next day within a broad specified region.
- USPS Connect National provides delivery solutions for businesses of all sizes, including First-Class Package Service, Parcel Select Ground and Retail Ground.
- USPS Connect Returns is a service for businesses to offer their customers returns, with free en-route pickup by their carrier or drop-off at a nearby Post Office location.
With the Connect Returns service, the U.S. Postal Service is responding to a notable increase in online returns volume. Retailers expect more than $761 billion in merchandise sold in 2021 to be returned, according to a report from the National Retail Federation and Appriss Retail. This accounts for an average of 16.6% of total U.S. retail sales, compared to 10.6% in 2020.
According to the NRF survey, for every $1 billion in sales, the average retailer incurs $166 million in merchandise returns. Online sales accounted for $1.050 trillion of the $4.583 trillion of total U.S. retail sales in 2021, according to NRF. Approximately $218 billion of online purchases were returned, for an average of 20.8% of sales, up from 18.1% in 2020.
"USPS Connect provides businesses of all sizes what they have been asking for — an affordable way to meet consumer demand for fast delivery," said Louis DeJoy, Postmaster General and CEO, U.S. Postal Service. "A pivotal point in our ‘Delivering for America’ plan, it positions us to more fully leverage our network capacity to increase volume and revenue so we can continue to serve the American people with affordable, reliable mail and package delivery."
"We've listened carefully to our business customers to develop this program," said Jakki Krage Strako, chief commerce and business solutions officer. "We're increasing next-day deliveries. We're also giving smaller businesses big-business rates and all businesses more user-friendly ways to interact with us."