Customized Market Mail, Other Initiatives Doing Well, Offical Tells MTAC

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WASHINGTON -- Mailers have been highly receptive to many new U.S. Postal Service initiatives, Anita Bizzotto, USPS chief marketing officer and senior vice president, said at the Mailers Technical Advisory Committee meeting Feb. 4 at postal headquarters here.

Customized Market Mail, a postal classification begun in August that lets direct marketers mail nonrectangular pieces, has resulted in 39 individual mailings totaling 500,000 to 1 million pieces, she said. Response rates for mail pieces using CMM have ranged from 4 percent to 20 percent.

Since the pilot launch of Parcel Return Service in October, "we've already handled close to 1 million packages to the tune of $3 million worth of revenue, with a single participant in that experiment," said Bizzotto, who noted that a second participant has been added.

Parcel Return is a prepaid service that merchants can use for customers wanting to return merchandise.

A co-palletization test that began last April to give mailers of small-circulation periodicals the same work-sharing discounts enjoyed by large mailers is also fairing well, she said.

In the two-year experiment, publishers, printers and consolidators can get discounts when they combine bundles/packages of different periodicals on the same pallet and drop-ship them to an area distribution center or sectional center facility.

Bizzotto also said that mailers expressed interest in a prepaid, Priority Mail envelope that launched recently. The flat-rate envelope features a $3.85 stamp printed directly on the envelope.

"We are selling these in five and 10 packs online, and the initial focus of this product was small or medium-sized businesses and consumers who can have Priority Mail envelopes at their side to make it more convenient for them to send documents," Bizzotto said.

However, she said that the agency will increase its focus on large mailers after some larger customers ordered 30,000 of the prepaid envelopes.

Bizzotto also said that traffic tripled to the postal service's Carrier Pickup Service -- which lets customers go online to request next-day package pickups -- the day after it was expanded to carriers in city ZIP codes Feb. 1.

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