In an earlier post, I discussed a pilot program that was taking place in 82 Staples locations testing the feasibility of offering postal products and services inside the office supply retailer. Based on the information learned from the test, both the Postal Service and Staples have agreed to end the pilot. Taking a slightly different direction, the 82 Staples pilot locations will be transitioned into the U.S. Postal Service’s long established Approved Shipper Program.Customers who currently use one of the 82 Staples locations for their mailing and shipping needs can continue to do so, just as they had done during the pilot. The transition into the Approved Shipper Program at these locations will have no effect on the product offerings or the convenience of being able to ship and mail on nights and weekends.
So what is the difference between what was piloted under the nomenclature “The Retail Partner Expansion Program” and an Approved Shipper location?There are many differences; however one key difference is the non-exclusivity of postal products.The Approved Shipper Program allows for the USPS® to compete in the marketplace. In most cases, the retailer is offering a number of shipping products to their customers. In addition, the Approved Shipper Program does not prohibit the retailer from charging a convenience fee. However, some Approved Shippers chose to sell at USPS Retail rates.The USPS® has a long history of partnerships like these; in fact the Approved Shipper Program has been in place since 2005. Staples is joining over 6,000 other Approved Shipper locations that can easily be found by visiting http://www.usps.com., and clicking on find USPS locations from the quick tools menu bar.Approved Shipper locations offer the most commonly requested USPS services, including domestic and international Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and First-Class shipping and mailing services. However some locations which are part of the broader Approved Postal Provider network may offer a smaller product mix, some offer just stamps so be sure to check our website before you go.The U.S Postal Service® has over 30,000 postal retail locations and 65,000 locations in our Approved Postal Provider network. Where ever you choose to mail and ship, we want to make it easier.Where is the last location you purchased stamps? Provide your answer in our comments section. 1. At a Post Office2. On USPS.com3. At an Approved Postal Provider location4. From a Self-Service Kiosk5. From a Bank ATM6. From a Grocery Store No matter the name of the program, the U.S. Postal Service continues our commitment to continually expand access to more of our products and services, at locations that make doing business with the Postal Service, Quick, Easy and Convenient.