II. Delivering Operational Success

Enhancing Retail Access

Our retail channel strategy focuses on enhancing the customer experience and ensuring that the Postal Service remains a trusted American institution, while promoting our financial stability and cost efficiency.

The Postal Service network, consisting of approximately 32,000 Postal Service managed Post Offices, stations and branches, is the most extensive in the nation, with more locations than McDonald’s and Starbucks combined. We also partner with retailers to provide another 64,000 locations for customers to access stamps and USPS services at times and locations convenient to them. We supply information and services online at usps.com and through applications on most mobile devices.

USPS continues to seek innovative retail alternatives to fulfill our customers’ needs for service at a reasonable cost.

Postal Service in Rural Areas – In the past three years, we have modified retail hours in over 9,700 offices as part of the POStPlan. This plan keeps rural Post Offices open while addressing declining mail volumes and revenue. POStPlan impacted over 1,800 offices in FY2014, reducing hours at these offices to 2–6 hours a day. So far, 229 Post Offices have been converted to two hours per day. Another 1,022 have been converted to four hours per day, and 569 have been converted to six hours daily. At the same time, the Postal Service has introduced Village Post Offices (VPOs) which are arrangements with local businesses in rural America to provide USPS services where customers shop. A VPO provides a range of popular products and services including PO Boxes, First-Class Mail Forever stamps, prepaid Priority Mail Flat Rate products, Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes for shipping and mail collection boxes. International mail pieces that have a computer-generated customs form with customs data electronically transmitted (through Click-N-Ship or an authorized PC postage vendor) can be deposited at a VPO. In FY2014 the Postal Service opened more than 400 VPOs in primarily rural communities.

Alternate Access – Many of our customers prefer the convenience of alternate access. The Postal Service leverages technology that includes self-service kiosks, online access and mobile payment devices to help facilitate additional access points. Outside the reach of our Post Offices we have also created a significant Approved Postal Provider network where customers can purchase stamps, mail a letter or ship a package. These retailers generate additional incremental revenue for the Postal Service by offering our products and services in places where we can’t. Our alternate access network provides convenient mail services where customers live, work and shop which results in greater convenience, lower cost to serve and improves the customer experience. Each year we strive to create a positive retail experience that accommodates the evolving needs of our customers.

Retail Partnerships – In 2014, the Postal Service provided customers with access to stamps at more than 65,000 retail partner locations through the Stamps to Go (StG) program. Now more than 15 percent of all stamps are currently being sold through this program, which is one of our most cost-effective channels.

Various marketing efforts have been used to remind customers that U.S. postage is available through more than 645 partner companies. These efforts have been successful in maintaining stamp sales while expanding our retail footprint. The Contract Postal Unit and the Approved Shipper programs also continue to grow revenue and expand reach through strategic partnerships. In particular, the Approved Shipper program increased its annual revenue by 33 percent this year and exceeded $90 million in revenue. The Stamps by Mail program continues to offer customers stamps delivered through the U.S. Mail without delivery or handling charges. This program remains popular with the elderly and disabled.