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Reinventing USPS – Anyone care?

Mani Gopalakrishnan 0

How many business’ have the brand permission to visit every one of their customers, at their house, everyday? What would that be worth as a service? The USPS’ value is not about delivering mail, it’s their ubiquity – being everywhere. Squandering this ubiquity is a great example of not adjusting with times.

Apart from discussing the options going to a 5-day working charter, trying the Fedex/UPS model of using Staples as a post office, USPS could do the following things today to rediscover some lost relevance.

Location Based Services

The ability for USPS or Postal Services to expand lies in the ability to deliver location-based services. Have you wondered if USPS is the single source of every possible location in the country yet the most innovations solutions come from places like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Yelp and so on? If USPS could both support these services and in addition launch:

  • Ability to share what you are doing at any point in time
  • Ability to “check-in” each time you visit a location
  • Find “places” around you
  • Receive coupons and benefits
  • Add locations that are not present in the databases

From Delivering Mail to Delivering Services

Amazon struggles with figuring out same-day services, Uber is jumping the baton with the supply chain story and yet with an amazing fleet and access to every single location, USPS is not in the story (may be it is). Additionally, can USPS deliver more services that are outside the norms of “postal” – ranging from being a Angie’s List to even sourcing local contractors, advisory to small-businesses on a range of topics such as growing Small Businesses. The USPS has to renovate itself from being a postal service to a partnership service and then play to the strength of its local community presence and grow it.

Virtual Mail Addresses?

While Internet is omnipresent in advanced economies, ability to use e-mails comes naturally to a lot of people, still the outreach of technology is limited to certain strata of the society. Now think about a service wherein:

  • Someone could go into USPS and sign-up for a virtual mail address (which is really an e-mail address)
  • People who have access to e-mail can reach user via this virtual mail address
  • USPS or Postal Services prints and delivers the mails
  • A vice-versa service is also available

While this may sound lame, believe a certain section of the society will certainly appreciate the service.

Service the Technology Companies

Why should Google cars take pictures of every street when you have a USPS that does it everyday? Why can’t Dell use the existing USPS assets as a temporary warehouse and use them as extended supply chain? These are some of the services that Fedex/UPS provides today to the technology companies.

Having said all that…

Does anyone care? The reinvention is going to require retooling and overhauling. However, the focus seems to be on shrinking. What do you think the USPS should do to reinvent itself?

Image Credit: Sourced under Creative Commons from Flickr from David Guo. Click here for actual source.

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