Yesterday we looked at the urgency of passing postal reform legislation as well as upcoming changes to the USPS processing network. Today we’ll examine the recent rule change surrounding automation discounts and preview upcoming promotions being considered for 2013.
Intelligent Mail Barcodes Required for Automation Discounts
The Postal Service has published its final rule discontinuing the use of POSTNET barcodes to claim automation discounts. Beginning January 28, 2013, mailpieces must carry an Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) to qualify for these discounts. Those mailpieces can carry either Basic or Full-Service IMb, but beginning in January 2014, only Full-Service IMb will qualify for automation discounts.
IWCO Direct fully supports Full-Service IMb today. If you haven’t yet transitioned from POSTNET to IMb, now is the perfect time to begin the process – your IWCO Direct sales executive or account manager can help you get started. Don’t forget – the requirement to transition to IMb includes Business Reply Mail as well. So check your stock and plan ahead! You’ll want to be sure to exhaust any BRE or BRC stock with POSTNET barcodes before January 28 so you can continue to take advantage of automation discounts.
Not only does the Full-Service IMb provide access to discounts, it’s also becoming the “table stakes” to participate in more USPS programs and initiatives such as this summer’s Mobile Barcode promotion. The Postal Service is also using the Full-Service IMb’s enhanced visibility to pieces, trays and pallets to improve its service performance and keep mail moving on schedule throughout its processing network. Recently released second quarter performance numbers show significant improvement in the percent of on-time mail, which is largely the result of the visibility provided through Full-Service IMb.
Postal Service Offers Preview of 2013 Promotions
Tom Foti, USPS manager of marketing mail, provided a high-level preview of pricing initiatives being considered for 2013 during the IDEAlliance Print Distribution Conference. He told the group that the promotions would be targeted to build the value of mail as much as to spur incremental volume growth. A promotions calendar for the coming year will be released this fall when the Postal Service submits its January 2013 pricing proposal to the Postal Regulatory Commission. Among the promotions being considered are:
- February/March: Coupons (social platform/mobile redemption);
- May/July: Earned value CRM/BRM promotion to encourage use of mailed reply pieces;
- August/September: Samples, emerging technology (augmented reality, etc.);
- November/December: “Buy It Now” – the next iteration of mobile shopping promotions
The Postal Service also said it is considering seasonal, two-tier pricing for Standard Mail, with one level of pricing for spring, summer and winter, and a second level of pricing available in the fall to help generate volume during the lighter mailing seasons.
We will continue to monitor the status of these programs and other developments at the USPS. Check back regularly to SpeakingDirect or subscribe today to receive our weekly updates delivered directly to your inbox via email.
Marketing Services Manager