Category: Archive

McGee: go postal

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

McGee was to have addressed a business luncheon last Thursday at the Farley Post Office Building in New York, but thanks to atrocious weather conditions, his plane from Washington was diverted to Boston, then back to Washington.
The diversion did not put McGee off message, however.
“The Postal Service wants small businesses everywhere to take advantage of several new services that will make it easier and cheaper to deliver and receive goods,” McGee said
When in New York he and colleagues were to have unveiled the benefits of new online postal services such as “Click-N-Ship.”
Click-N-Ship allows small business owners to use the USPS website for services such as printing labels, ordering supplies and pre-paid envelopes and schedule on-site pick-up of parcels and packages.
McGee’s colleague at the USPS, Monica Hand, described it as “essentially cutting out ever having to go to the post office itself.”
Packages can be tracked online as well for up to date delivery information.
The aggressive targeting of small businesses by the USPS is a mark of how seriously the postal service has been challenged in recent years by private delivery companies such as FedEx, DSL and UPS.
One of the small businesses helped by the new USPS service is Donna Childs’s company, Childs Capital, which was evacuated out of Lower Manhattan after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
Childs described how the attacks devastated her business, which is “a small firm dedicated to alleviating poverty through economic development.”
“Our office was inaccessible for several weeks,” Childs recalled. “We were without electricity and telephone service.”
Childs’s point was that her business very nearly failed, and thanks to the USPS’ service being Internet accessible, her company stayed upright.
“Had we been unable to stay up and running, we would have lost out on some very important business,” Childs said. “This was important because our business operates globally and we would not wish to lose opportunities to companies that were not affected by Sept. 11.”
USPS staff assured potential customers that the USPS website is secure and customers can pay safely with any major credit card.
McGee noted other useful features of the USPS web site — the zip-code finder pinpoints zip codes from addresses and domestic and international postal rates can also be calculated online.
“All you need is an Internet connection, your home or office PC and a laser or quality inkjet printer,” Hand said. “Labels can be printed on 8 1/2-by-11-inch paper and glued or taped securely to the package, and self-adhesive labels can also be used.”
One minor drawback was admitted by the postal service — regular inkjet printers won’t work, because rain or damp will cause the labels to blur and run.
The service would especially suit businesses with a high number of small packages to mail to customers, such as an arts and crafts company or a florist.
At the New York event that McGee unfortunately missed, several examples were highlighted.
One California company consists of Geoffrey Ellis and his craftsman’s tools — he makes Native American redwood flutes and has so far delivered over 1,000, he said, safely using Priority Mail.
Scott Mooney’s family business in Iowa attributed his success to the USPS small business service, boosting sales to $17 million last year.
And McGee said that direct mailing has a consistently higher rate of response for businesses than traditional advertising.
Though he missed his trip to New York, McGee hopes to be back to champion his service soon.
The USPS web site can be located at www.usps.com/clicknship.

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