A pilot program that began in Texas is now going big — as in national — as the U.S. Postal Service announced its USPS Connect business delivery program is now available in more locations and will be nationwide by the end of this year.
USPS Connect includes four service options, but all are designed to assist small businesses in a world that requires fast shipping.
“USPS Connect provides businesses of all sizes what they have been asking for — an affordable way to meet consumer demand for fast delivery,” Postmaster General and CEO Louis DeJoy said in a statement. “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.”
The rollout includes USPS Connect Local, USPS Connect Regional, USPS Connect National and USPS Connect Returns.
- USPS Connect Local allows businesses to offer next-day service in all locations with same-day delivery, Sunday delivery and pickup options in select locations. It includes USPS Connect Local Mail, a First-Class mail option for documents up to 13 ounces. Businesses can inject their USPS Connect Local packages and mail at the receiving dock of the designated postal facility or take advantage of free en route pickup when their carrier delivers their mail. Free flat-rate bags, boxes and envelopes are available via USPS Click-N-Ship.
- USPS Connect Regional provides businesses next-day regional and delivery of Parcel Select packages and Parcel Select lightweight packages.
- USPS Connect National provides delivery solutions through First-Class package service, Parcel Select Ground and Retail Ground.
- USPS Connect Returns allows businesses to offer their customers returns with free en route pickup by their carrier or drop-off at a nearby post office.
“We’ve listened carefully to our business customers to develop this program,” Jakki Krage Strako, chief commerce and business solutions officer, said. “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.”
The Postal Service announced USPS Connect last September, launching the pilot in Texas. The effort made shipping rates that had only previously been available to high-volume customers possible for smaller businesses, many of which are being thrust into the world of e-commerce and its fast shipping expectations.
It is also part of an effort by DeJoy to remake the Postal Service to compete with Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), FedEx (NYSE: FDX) and UPS (NYSE: UPS). In early 2021, DeJoy announced a focus on parcel programs that includes USPS Connect. The Postal Service expects the program and the broader Delivering for America initiative to generate $24 billion in revenue by 2030.
Under the reorganization, the Postal Service will offer same-day, next-day and two- to three-day deliveries covering its four package-delivery services: Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, First-Class Package Services for deliveries weighing less than 1 pound and Parcel Select, in which the Postal Service collects packages dropped off at post offices by high-volume shippers for final-mile deliveries to residences.
By law, the Postal Service must serve every address in the U.S., giving it daily touch points with a majority of Americans. However, the demands of e-commerce with next-day and now even same-day shipping are sure to stress the logistics operations.