USPS Runs With Priority Mail Shoe Box

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The U.S. Postal Service introduced a Priority Mail Shoe Box this month to make it easier for retailers and customers to ship any brand or size of footwear.

More than 250,000 of these boxes have shipped since the product's May 4 launch, a postal official said.

Designed for footwear and clothing retailers, along with direct-to-customer businesses, the new Priority Mail box lets shippers simply slide in a boxed pair of shoes. Fulfillment takes place at sites in Hayward, CA, and Plainfield, IN.

The decoratively illustrated Priority Mail Shoe Box measures 7 1/2 by 5 1/8 by 14 3/8 inches. It is designed so that almost any brand and size of shoebox will slide right in. The box is durable and self-sealing and, as with all Priority Mail packaging, is available at no extra cost to Priority Mail shippers.

The USPS said it is responding to the need for a convenient box to ship or return shoes.

"With consumers buying more clothing and accessories through the mail, shoes are one of the hottest growing items in this category," said Jim Cochrane, USPS manager for package services. "We worked with shoe manufacturers to design what we think is the perfect-sized box for any pair of shoes to slide right in and seal easily."

The box was designed to meet the unique needs of retail shoe shippers, and most fashion shoes will fit into this new packaging, including larger sizes. The box can fit everything from a size five women's shoe to a size 13 men's shoe.

This product lets shippers provide more value to their customers given its low cost and the competitive direct-to-consumer market, the USPS said. It's estimated that on average the box will ship for $4.05 to $6.05 coast to coast.

Volume shoe shippers -- those generating $500,000 in revenue yearly -- qualify for customized packaging solutions, including co-branding and/or customized packaging in various sizes and shapes. There is no extra fee for these services, though a fee applies for logo colors if they are not postal red or postal blue, however.

One company using the boxes is New Balance North Jersey. Its Web site, aperfectdealer.com, ships 200 to 300 boxes daily of New Balance shoes -- athletic and dress shoes -- from its store in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ.

Company owner Larry Gershberg currently is using the boxes that are generally available, though he said he has worked with the USPS to create a custom, co-branded box that fits both large-sized athletic shoes (such as high tops for males size 17) and smaller ladies dress shoes. He ordered 10,000 of these boxes this month, he said.

"We think that having one large box that can accommodate all different sizes of shoes will make shipping easier for those of us who sell shoes by mail," he said. "We love the look of the box and the convenience, and plan to move more of our business to the postal service because of its availability."

The new box is available at www.usps.com/shippingsupplies in packs of 10 or 25. For larger orders, call 800/610-8734.

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