This is the fourth and final blog in our week-long series on What America Wants from the Postal Service.
Nowhere has the digital revolution been more disruptive than in communications. The rapid evolution in Internet-based technologies has changed the way businesses and individuals communicate and transact. They now rely on both digital and physical communications. This dramatic shift has certainly challenged the Postal Service, but also created opportunities for it to expand into digital services to meet customers’ needs.
What digital services might the Postal Service offer to serve customers and potentially generate new revenue? In the paper What America Wants from the Postal Service, our web survey of 5,000 Internet-connected Americans aged 18 years and older asked respondents to consider the Postal Service as a provider of digital services and to weigh in with their preferences of potential new digital services it could offer.
Interestingly, an overwhelming majority of respondents (especially younger respondents) are comfortable with the Postal Service as a provider of digital services. Only 12 percent of respondents indicated they would not trust the Postal Service to provide any digital services. More than 80 percent of respondents trust the Postal Service for providing package tracking, followed by e-government services (34 percent), and identity verification services (nearly 30 percent). More than 40 percent of respondents expressed interest in having a digital mailbox service, while more than 55 percent of respondents see value in the Postal Service providing a delivery preference management system.
We welcome your comments on this topic and other services the Postal Service could offer in our comment section. Read More
The U.S. Postal Service can play unique and positive roles in the expansion of the peer-to-peer marketplace, as suggested in a new OIG white paper, Peer-to-Peer Commerce and the Role of the Postal Service. American consumers are familiar with peer-to-peer (P2P) digital commerce and increasingly comfortable buying and selling that way. Millions of people place offerings and shop on eBay, Craigslist, etsy, and other sites every day. In recent years, the P2P segment has grown beyond these traditional product sites and now includes services from which users can rent a vacation room in someone’s house, lend or borrow a private car, or even hire someone locally for small jobs, such as baking cookies for a child’s classroom party or assembling modular furniture.
However, there are a number of problems in current P2P commerce that may prevent wider adoption by the American public. Market participants face the challenges of balancing convenience with privacy and the potential for economic or physical harm. Some of these issues can be addressed through enhanced digital identity and authentication services, but there are other opportunities, which the paper presents.Read More
Even with smartphones, high-speed Internet, and other modern technologies, Americans spend an inordinate amount of time running errands. Interacting and conducting business with our government is no exception. It can be time-consuming.
Wouldn’t it be great to use the local Post Office as a one-stop center for doing business with government? Or, what if the U.S. Postal Service had a digital platform to access government services or information online? Last week, the OIG released a white paper called “e-Government and the Postal Service — A Conduit to Help Government Meet Citizens’ Needs.” The paper identifies opportunities for the Postal Service to partner with other agencies to better connect with citizens, improve services, cut costs, and reduce duplicative and wasteful services. By providing e-government services, the Postal Service could help the government save money. There has never been a better time to do more with less.Read More
The Postal Service faced its own fiscal cliff in 2012 while the larger mailing industry continued to press for reform and innovation. But don’t count mail out just yet. A strong election season reminded many Americans that mail still matters, even in the digital age. And in Europe, one postal operator didn’t let 500 years of history stand in the way of reinventing itself.
Looking over the headlines, the staff at the Office of Inspector General has pulled together the list below of the top 10 postal stories for 2012. After you read them, vote for your top story of the year, or let us know if we missed one.
The digital revolution has changed communications, and with it, the operations and finances of the U.S. Postal Service. It also has brought deep changes in the way we design networks and analyze systems. Many organizations rely on mathematical modeling to test ideas before they become operational, conserving money and time. The Postal Service, facing limited capital and resources, has also adopted this practice. It is discovering how important these tools are for assessing strategies for designing the future mail network.
The Office of Inspector General has explored some of the main components of the postal supply chain – retail, mail processing and transportation, and delivery – using a systems modeling approach. This approach has allowed the OIG to use objective methods to determine how the network could be redesigned to meet current needs and future demands.Read More