US Postal Service targets youth with iPhone app

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The US Postal Service has launched an iPhone and iPod Touch application to make its services more conveniently through the mobile Web and to appeal to a younger, more mobile-savvy demographic..

“Technology is a priority for the US Postal Service,” said Joseph Adams, general manager for online and marketing services at the USPS. “Our customers have changed the way they do business, and we have to change with them, so we're going to use technology to bring new and existing postal services to customers now and going forward.”

The application, released last month, features a GPS-enabled post office locator, maps and directions, a ZIP Code locator and functionality for consumers to track and confirm packages.

While the USPS is expanding its mobile Web presence, it is planning to consolidate many bricks-and-mortar locations. The agency, which reported a $3.8 billion net loss for its fiscal year 2009, which ended September 30, 2009, is mulling the closure of less than 170 branches. The USPS disclosed a net loss of $255 million for November 2009.

Adams added that although the agency regularly reaches most US consumers, the application allows it to interact with a younger generation that is “not as used to going to a post office, but more likely to be using mobile devices.”

“We want to stay as relevant to new generations as we have been to past generations,” he said. “The younger generations are so comfortable with things like mobile devices, so we are working to take the US Postal Service in that direction.”

Adams said that the USPS is working on a second generation version of the app, which will include new functionality including a rate calculator, as well as applications for other mobile devices.

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