In February, the U.S. Postal Service announced it would suspend regular mail delivery on Saturdays this August, while continuing to deliver packages six days a week. In March, Congress put a crimp in their plan, refusing to remove a provision in its annual rules update that mandates all mail to be delivered six days a week. Then last week, a House committee approved a measure that would allow the USPS to move ahead with the planned cuts and even allow a future discontinuation of to-the-door delivery for millions of Americans.
According to Reuters reporter Elvina Nawaguna, “The Postal Service, which is buckling under massive financial losses, sees savings in centralized mail delivery. Door-to-door delivery costs the Postal Service about $353 per address each year. Curbside delivery costs $224, and cluster boxes cost $160 per address. With cluster boxes, mailboxes for individual addresses are grouped together at a central neighborhood location.”
This is just one of the cost-saving strategies currently under consideration by the USPS as they struggle to create ways to stem billions of dollars in yearly operating costs.
For catalog publishers, the implications are confusing at best.
In an interview with Multichannel Merchant, Hamilton Davison of the American Catalog Mailers Association suggests that the move could have a large negative impact on catalog volume. Likewise, Catalog Process Group’s Rick Binger feels that not only will catalogs suffer, but direct mail in general.
While still sketchy on details, the Postal Reform Act of 2013 could have wide reaching and long lasting implications for the catalog direct mail industries.
We’ll keep an eye on the issue, and would like to hear from you. What effect do you think the proposed change would have on your business or your community? Let us know.