Flat–rate boxes for Express Mail and Priority Mail services have enjoyed growing popularity. Sales of the 3–year-old Priority Mail Flat-Rate Boxes recently reached $1 billion. To provide customers with an additional option, the Postal Service has responded with the new Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box that is 50 percent larger than the current box.
In addition, the Postal Service is offering a $2.00 “military discount” when the new Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box is sent to an APO/FPO address. The Postal Service has also produced a special edition of the Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box that is cobranded with the America Supports You logo, representing the Department of Defense program that is designed to assist the American public in showing its support for our nation’s troops. The specially branded box is not required to earn the APO/FPO discount. The discount is applied automatically based on the APO/FPO address when either version of the box is used.
As with all flat-rate packaging, customers may mail as much as they can fit in a package — without distorting its dimensions, and up to a 70-pound limit — all at the same low price. It’s Quick, Easy, Convenient®. That’s Today’s Mail®!
The new flexibility provided by the Postal Law of 2006 has allowed the Postal Service to introduce these new initiatives rapidly.
This is a bona fide news story. The $2.00 military discount is a first of its kind; in fact, it is historic. Although less “earth-shaking,” the Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box is also new, and it provides a mailing option that many customers have been seeking. In view of the strong news angle, there is a good chance to gain positive media coverage simply by making the local media aware that these new options will be available starting on March 3, 2008.
There is also a high likelihood that media attention can be generated through successful public relations involving local mailing efforts by local groups that arrange mailings to the troops and acquire the goods to be mailed.
We believe that local postmasters and their service teams are in the best position to know who in their communities are doing these types of mailings. In fact, these groups probably look to the Postal Service and its employees as a trusted partner. Now is an excellent time to help these groups gain added media coverage while also publicizing our new services and our corporate citizenship in providing a postage discount to support our troops.
Possible media outreach activities include the following:
Don’t forget to alert large-volume customers to order the new packaging early, because it can take 7–10 days to fulfill an order for the free packaging, and we expect that our customers will want to take advantage of the new discount and the larger free packaging as soon as possible.
Here’s an example of the kinds of stories that we have been seeing that result from public-spirited efforts to support our troops through the use of the mail. The following is reprinted from the January 28, 2008, Postal News Link. They love our current flat-rate service. Just think how they’ll react to the convenience of the larger box and a large postage discount to go with it!
Sales of Priority Mail Flat-Rate Boxes reach milestone
(Picture cut-line: “Operation Shoebox New Jersey volunteers ready Priority Mail Flat-Rate Boxes for shipping. Sales of Priority Mail Flat-Rate Boxes — if it fits, it ships for one low price — have reached $1 billion since introduction of the product three years ago.”)
Executives at Operation Shoebox New Jersey (OSNJ, http://www.opshoeboxnj.org/), a non profit organization (headquartered in Hillsborough, NJ) that uses flat-rate boxes to ship care packages to service members deployed overseas, said they appreciate their value and convenience.
“Knowing up front what the shipping cost will be is a great way to manage expenses,” OSNJ founder and Executive Director Rod Hirsch said. “And with the low price, we can send more packages overseas.”
Environmentally conscious customers also like the product. Priority Mail and Express Mail packaging was awarded Cradle to Cradle Certification for their environmental attributes last June. USPS was the first and only company in its industry to receive this certification.
Already a popular product with customers, the flat-rate boxes are about to get even better. Beginning March 3, the Postal Service will add a new Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box to its product offerings. The new box will allow customers to ship 50 percent more than with the current flat-rate box. In addition, it will be offered at a $2 discount to overseas military addresses — a postal first for the armed forces.
We know that local postmasters, customer relations coordinators, and field public affairs professionals know how to conduct outreach in their local communities. From open houses and customer appreciation events, to eBay and USPS.com days, to passport fairs, to special programs to celebrate stamps issuances, to public service initiatives like Consumer Protection Week, Postal Service employees are experts at getting the word out and delivering results.
In this case, we believe we have a vehicle that can deliver a total return in terms of growing our business, building our brand, serving our customers, and supporting our communities. And there are many potential partners who could benefit from the effort and should be willing to join us. So our only advice in this case is: if you have the time and resources, now is the time to take advantage of the news value inherent in our March 3 launch and the local “firsts” that will take place as customers take advantage of what we are offering.
- As of March 3, 2008, the Postal Service will offer a new Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box, which holds 50 percent more than other flat-rate boxes, and it will also offer our first-ever postage discount for mailing these boxes to APO/FPO addresses.
- Customers will receive a $2.00 discount when they mail the new Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box to an APO/FPO address. The $10.95 flat rate for APO/FPO addresses applies no matter the weight of the contents, up to a 70-pound limit. This compares to a price of $12.95 for mailing the Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box domestically.
- Flat-rate boxes are available free of charge and can be ordered online at www.usps.com — under “Shipping Tools,” click on Supplies — or by calling 800-610-8734, and asking for an operator.
- Customers also have a choice of two exterior designs with the new Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box. One box features the standard Postal Service logo. The other box also includes a distinctive America Supports You logo for customers who want to add a special message on the outside of the box to go with the special contents they are sending on the inside.
- America Supports You is a program of the Department of Defense designed to assist Americans in showing their support for our troops.
- The new discount is not tied to the logo. The APO/FPO discount applies to both the regular and the APO/FPO Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Boxes so long as they are addressed to an APO/FPO address. The lower price will be applied automatically through POS, based on the destination address.
- Pricing for the Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box is as follows: $10.95 to APO/FPO addresses; $12.95 to domestic addresses; $29.95 to Canada or Mexico; and $49.95 to the rest of the world.
- Local Post Office retail associates can provide customs and mailing guidelines for all international addresses.
- As one of our nation’s oldest public service institutions, and the employer of more than 180,000 military veterans, the Postal Service is proud to offer these new services and to support our troops with this historic new discount and the cobranded America Supports You box.
- Remember, the employees of the Postal Service are here to support you. And we are very pleased to provide you with these new services so that you may support the ones you love.
[Adapt as necessary to the event.]
We are here today on an historic occasion. It is a day for all of us to celebrate freedom and citizenship, and to support for our gallant military on duty around the world.
We are pleased to celebrate this day with [name partners, special guests, etc., as appropriate].
Back in December 2006, President Bush signed a new postal law that provided new flexibility for the Postal Service to serve its customers.
Today, we are making history because of those new freedoms. We are offering a new discounted package service for mailing items to our troops overseas. At the same time, we are introducing a new, larger flat-rate box for Priority Mail service that will give our customers more choice, convenience, and value when they mail packages here in America or anywhere around the world.
In both cases, we are talking about flat rates. Flat rates mean you can mail as much as you want — as long as it fits in the box without distorting its dimensions and adheres to a 70-pound limit — all at one low price. And if you are mailing the Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box to an APO or FPO address, you will receive a $2.00 dollar discount off the regular price.
This discount is a first for the Postal Service. We have never done it before because we never had the freedom to do it. Now we do, thanks to the new law. And we are using that freedom to help the citizens of America show their support for our sons and daughters, our husbands and wives, our friends and loved ones who are serving our country in the military around the world.
In addition, to mark this historic occasion, the Postal Service has produced a specially branded box for mailing to the military. The box is cobranded by America Supports You. America Supports You is an official Department of Defense program that lets citizens show their support for our nation’s armed forces.
It is not necessary to use the branded box to mail at a discount. Either of the two Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Boxes will receive the discount if they are mailed to an APO or FPO address. But we know that Americans like to show their pride for the outstanding job our military is doing. So we are proud to provide this uniquely branded box for those who want to send a special message along with their special package.
The Postal Service is also very proud to offer this historic postage discount in support of our troops and those who support our troops. And we are pleased to provide even greater convenience and choice for the millions of Americans who rely on the ease and simplicity of flat-rate Priority Mail service. This is the beginning of a new era. This is Today’s Mail. Thank you.
Q. How do I get supplies?
A. Priority Mail boxes are free and can be ordered at www.usps.com — under “Shipping Tools,” click on Supplies. You can also order boxes by calling 800–610-8734, and asking for an operator.
Q. Is the packaging environmentally safe?
A. Packages are 100 percent recyclable and exceed all Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) environmental standards. In fact, Express Mail and Priority Mail packaging have been awarded Cradle to Cradle Certification for their environmental attributes. The Postal Service is committed to finding new ways to protect the environment and is the first in its industry to receive this certification. Decals, labels, tapes, and adhesives from the Postal Service are recyclable, too.
Q. How long will it take to get my free packaging?
A. Orders are fulfilled within 7–10 business days. Boxes will be available for order beginning February 20, 2008. However, the prices for the box will not be available until March 3, 2008.
Q. How long does it take a Priority Mail item to get where it is going?
A. It takes an average of 2–3 days for a Priority Mail item to reach any destination in the United States. For Priority Mail items addressed to APO/FPO locations, delivery times vary by destination and current conditions in the local area. Military officials advise, “At the gateway, mail is sorted, bagged, and tagged to arrive at a military postal unit overseas. While commercial aircraft are very consistent, there could be a large variation in transit.”
Q. What special military mail services are generally available?
A. Most USPS special services, such as Certified Mail™, Registered Mail™, insured mail, certificate of mailing, return receipt, restricted delivery, and return receipt for merchandise are available in the military postal service. Collect on delivery (COD) and Delivery Confirmation services are not available.
America Supports You is a Department of Defense program that provides opportunities for citizens to show their support for the U.S. armed forces. The program was launched in 2004 to highlight citizen support for our military men and women and communicate that support to the members of our armed forces at home and abroad. America Supports You connects individuals, organizations, and companies to hundreds of home-front groups offering a variety of support to the military community. The program also connects military service members and their families to home-front groups that provide assistance. America Supports You home-front groups show support in many ways including writing letters and e-mails, sending care packages, offering scholarships, and helping the wounded when they return home
To access the main Web page for America Supports You, go to www.AmericaSupportsYou.mil.
To see a list of groups involved in sending care packages, go to www.americasupportsyou.mil/America SupportsYou/send_packages.html.
To request a speaker for an event, go to www.whywe serve.mil.
To reach military postal authorities, go to http://hqdainet.army.mil/mpsa. This Web site for the Military Postal Service Agency provides up-to-date information on mail delivery to troops deployed outside the United States.
See pages 18–19 in this issue of the Postal Bulletin for copies of a Media News Release and Media Advisory for the Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Boxes.
[Month XX], 2008 www.usps.com
Media News Release
First-ever Postage Discount Now Available for Mailing to Military Overseas
Expanded Priority Mail Services Launched
[Local City] — [City Name] Postal Service™ customers now have more choices for sending packages and saving money. As of March 3, [City Name] customers can ship 50 percent more with a new, larger Priority Mail Flat-Rate Box at one low, flat rate — and the packaging is free. Customers also will receive a $2 discount when sending the new box — fully loaded, we hope — to an APO/FPO address for U.S. military serving overseas.
“The Postal Service is very proud to offer our customers an historic new postage discount when they mail our new Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box to their friends and loved ones serving in the military overseas,” said [Title and Name of Postal Official].
Merchants on e-Bay, small businesses and time-strapped householders are expected to embrace the new, larger Priority Mail box, which can be mailed directly from the home or business without the hassle of weighing the parcel or computing postage. Postage can also be purchased and printed over the Internet through the Postal Service’s innovative Click-N-Ship® service, and free Carrier Pickup™ can be arranged online, so that the package is picked up when the letter carrier makes the daily mail delivery.
The new Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box can be used for both domestic and international mailings at the following low, flat rates: $10.95 to APO/FPO addresses; $12.95 to domestic addresses; $29.95 to Canada or Mexico; and $49.95 to the rest of the world.
The new flat-rate boxes are available free of charge, and can be ordered online at www.usps.com — under “Shipping Supplies,” click Supplies — or by phone at 800-610-8734, ask for an operator.
Customers have a choice of two exterior designs with the new Priority Mail Large Flat-Rate Box. One box features the standard Postal Service logo. The other box also includes a distinctive America Supports You logo for customers who want to add a special message for our troops on the outside of the box to go with the special contents they are sending on the inside.
For more information about postal services, customers should visit their local Post Office™ or go online at www.usps.com.
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USPS Launches Discounted Service for Sending Packages to Troops Overseas
WHAT: [Describe the event; e.g., USPS® partners with [Local Group] to provide U.S. troops with support from the home front while saving [$xx] for mailers through historic first-time postage discounts.]
WHO: [List local public officials, key Postal Service participants, partners, other participants participating and special guests participating and/or attending event.]
WHEN: [Hour, Day, Date].
WHERE: [Insert Address of Event Location].
BACKGROUND: On March 3, the United States Postal Service® introduced its first-ever postage discount for parcels addressed to U.S. military overseas. The Postal Service™ also launched a new larger, flat-rate Priority Mail box for sending packages throughout the United States and around the world at a fixed rate, regardless of weight. Customers have been asking for the convenience of the new larger packaging, which is available free from the Postal Service. The Postal Service is proud to provide this historic new discount to support our military and their friends and loved ones here at home. The new discount was made possible by changes to the laws governing the Postal Service, which have provided the agency with new flexibility to serve the American people.
CONTACT: [Include names and telephone numbers as appropriate, or delete this line.]
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