By now, you are aware that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will be moving to a Monday through Friday mail delivery schedule, largely eliminating Saturday from its schedule – provided Congress goes along.
Ceasing Saturday mail delivery is certainly not something direct marketers celebrate, but the action is part of a plan by Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to restore financial solvency to the USPS. While delivery to mailboxes will end in August 2013, post office boxes will still receive Saturday mail and packages will be delivered to homes and businesses. So, with Saturday mailbox delivery ending, it is important to understand the impact to mailers, and there are many.
In general, there will be a lengthening of the delivery time of your campaigns. While we don’t yet know the full impact to the average delivery time, cutting a full day from the delivery schedule will certainly have an effect. We anticipate Monday’s mail volume to increase notably to accommodate what was Saturday’s volume. This will be an especially important consideration when Monday is a federal holiday. In addition, because mail volume will be compressed into fewer days, competition for recipient’s attention and action will be even fiercer as more mail arrives all at once.
The impacts of the end of Saturday delivery will vary by industry and will affect each marketer differently.
- Businesses that depend on the traditional, in-home window of Thursday, Friday and Saturday to promote weekend sales, coupons, events and offers will need to shift in-home delivery date targets to ensure their mailings arrive in time for recipients to act.
- Magazine publishers historically have targeted end of week and Saturday delivery due to increased readership. Those with very time sensitive content like The Week will be faced with the decision to either move back their editorial cut-off date for a Friday delivery or maintain their news cycle and opt for a Monday delivery date.
- Catalog mailers have always dealt with co-mail pools, but now the volume of catalogs being compressed into fewer days will greatly increase competition in the mailbox.
- Nonprofit mailers will likely experience longer delivery times as well as increased response time for donations. These considerations will be especially important around fiscal year end.
The good news is that we have been able to manage the recent fluctuation in delivery times due to USPS facility consolidation as well as changes in delivery routes, and we’ll manage a five day delivery schedule, too! Here at MailSmart Logistics, we are constantly monitoring delivery times which is great news for postal logistics clients. You’ve got six months to complete preparations. Here’s our action plan to get you prepared for when the USPS stops Saturday mail delivery.
Direct Marketer’s Action Plan to Prepare for Five Day Mail Delivery
- Transition management of your campaigns to focus on in-home dates versus drop dates.
- Track your mailings to be better able to predict delivery times and prepare all those impacted by response. Our complimentary MailTrackerTM uses the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) to track mail campaigns, real-time, through the mail stream. If you are not using MailTrackerTM, now is the time to begin using this free tool.
- Use drop shipping and commingling to not only realize postage savings, but move your mail closer to its final destination, which provides you greater control of delivery dates.
- Challenge your copy, design and production teams now to develop strategies to stand out from increased competition in the mailbox.
- Plan for shifts in your integrated marketing strategies including online direct marketing, telemarketing, and follow-up mailings so they can fully support the success of your direct marketing campaigns with optimal timing.
We understand that your business or organization may have unique needs which could impact your mailings universally or only for a specific campaign or two. We’re here to help. Please reach out to us, we’d be happy to provide a custom evaluation and recommendations to help you best prepare for the changes that the elimination of Saturday mail delivery might mean for your business or organization.