Delivery Confirmation to Debut in Spring

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Delivery Confirmation and Signature Confirmation -- the U.S. Postal Service's much-anticipated Priority Mail and Standard-B mail tracking services -- will debut in the spring.

Delivery Confirmation lets customers apply a unique identifying barcode to each mail piece, and acceptance records will be captured through retail units with hand-held scanners. When the barcode is scanned, information -- including the date, ZIP code and whether the item was delivered, attempted, forwarded or returned to the sender -- will be recorded. Customers will be able to access the information by calling a toll-free number, accessing the Internet or through electronic file transfer.

Signature Confirmation will provide postal customers an electronic return receipt that includes a copy of the customer's signature, printed name and address information. Customers will be able to receive a receipt with this information by fax or mail if requested.

The USPS is planning a major direct mail and brand advertising campaign next year to highlight the new systems. Delivery Confirmation is scheduled to launch in March, and Signature Confirmation in May.

"We are going to include in our Priority Mail advertising the announcement of Delivery Confirmation as a new entry into the marketplace in terms of technology," said Chet King, marketing specialist with the expedited/package services business unit at the USPS, Roswell, GA.

While King said it's too early to discuss details about the campaign, he said that the direct mail component will target thousands of business customers in the United States and that radio ads and information in post office lobbies will be aimed at residences. The theme of the campaign will be tied to the new "Fly Like an Eagle" campaign, which consists of print ads and TV spots about many of USPS's retail and service products and designed to position it as a supplier with many product alternatives.

"We are trying to focus on a consistent look, so that no matter where or when you see [our ads], you can start drawing conclusions that it's all part of one," King said.

The eagle-themed campaign -- and its Priority Mail component -- is being created by Foote, Cone & Belding, New York.

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