USPS embraces new tech, kiosks to meet consumer delivery priorities
- Convenience, customization and immediacy top the list of millennials' priorities for deliveries, according to a pair of surveys conducted by the Postal Service’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
- Millennials suggested self-service options such as "one-stop shop" kiosks as well as advanced knowledge and control of parcel delivery as keys to convenience.
- Services including self-service stamp vending machines in stores and adjacent to public transportation were cited as potential features that might increase usage of U.S. Postal Service (USPS) services.
Shopping is changing. There are more platforms and more engagement between stores and consumers. According to Harvard Business Review, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) initiative can involve one platform or many, depending on things like image, objectives, target audience and what’s feasible in a given market.
"The online world is tough for brands to influence. But brick-and-mortar retail doors are closing, especially for apparel, as shoppers take their business online. In this environment, a failure to think digitally may have the most dire consequences of all," the review said.
The USPS understands that today’s consumers including, of course, millennials, want instant gratification, whether it’s same-day delivery of an order, tracking of a pizza or self-checkout at the local market.
"Kiosks or machines to process sending packages without going to the post office, waiting in line and dealing with their employee," one millennial responded. "I want it to be like the vending machine where I can drop small or large packages, weigh and scan it automatically, and give you the amount to pay and print out the receipt."
In fact, USPS already has some of those concepts in place — 2,800 of them. Of the more than 3,500 millennials surveyed, 40% said they had no knowledge of the kiosks, while only 21% said they had used one.
According to a Euromonitor International white paper, "Megatrend Analysis: Putting the Consumer at the Heart of Business," "technology plays a pivotal role in consumer decision-making and the ability of manufacturers and retailers to meet the needs of today’s consumer. It encompasses everything from the development of mobile internet through to 3D printing and artificial intelligence. The constant innovation within technology and ever-faster technological processes are driving consumer megatrends."
USPS is taking advantage of technology with its free, app-based Informed Delivery program which, like the ability to track a pizza, allows mail recipients to track and identify letter-sized mail. They receive a digital, gray-scale preview of the envelope. For packages, USPS has online tracking to provide delivery instructions, manage notifications and schedule redelivery.
- U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General Millennials and the Mail
- Harvard Business Review How Consumer Brands Can Connect with Customers in a Changing Retail Landscape
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