To provide continued solutions in consumers’ quest for faster holiday shipping solutions, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has announced it will offer affordable, next-day shipping services and Sunday package delivery this year. The program was announced on Wednesday (Nov. 1) in advance of the holiday shopping rush.
According to Seattle Times news reports, the holiday shipping program — effectively an expansion on the services USPS offers almost exclusively for online retailer Amazon — will be available in 20 major cities for customers who make purchases at select retailers before a certain cutoff time. Purchased items will be picked up by USPS carriers at local stores and delivered via next-day shipping.
“The Postal Service is well-prepared to meet our customers’ needs during the holiday season, especially as demand for package deliveries continues to grow,” said Megan Brennan, postmaster general.
In an added benefit of the holiday shipping program, USPS will keep its package rates “largely unchanged for the holidays,” the article noted, a different approach from the peak period and oversized package holiday surcharges present at private carriers UPS and FedEx.
USPS has not revealed which retailers will participate in the pilot of the holiday shipping program, but Best Buy, Target and Walmart have all unveiled faster delivery options for the coming retail rush. Walmart is considering its own same-day delivery service and is testing package drop-offs through company employees and Uber deliveries.
Best Buy and Target did not offer comment in the Seattle Times article, though all three retailers are looking to compete with Amazon and its Prime Delivery offerings during the holiday shopping season.
Despite declines over the last 10 years, USPS is leaning on its reputation to push interest in its next-day delivery services, “billing itself as the trusted, low-cost carrier already serving every U.S. household,” the Seattle Times reported. Delivery industry tracker ShipMatrix, Inc. projects the post office will deliver 850 parcels between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve this year, a 13 percent increase, and capture approximately 45.6 percent of the peak holiday delivery market share.
USPS Sunday deliveries will begin Nov. 26 and include Christmas Day. A new online feature will help customers reschedule deliveries from the post office as needed.