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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

How the Postal Service Can Reinvent Itself

Last night, I figured out how to save the Postal Service. Or rather, how it can save itself, by a fairly major transformation.

People send far fewer items by post. The only answers we've seen from the Postal Service so far are (a) raising prices and (b) reducing service. Saying that these responses violate basic economic principles rather understates the case. This isn't Econ 101 -- it's far more basic and (one would think) obvious.

So what do I suggest?

The Postal Service should identify the products that people still mail, and sell those products, with postage included. (Greeting cards may be one such product; I suspect there are others.) What's more, it should sell desirable enough versions of those products that people will buy them even if they don't intend to send them by mail. The postage-included feature would be important to some consumers, a pleasant extra to others, and irrelevant to many.

Of course, they can still offer postage stamps, for the dwindling number of customers who make use of them -- so they can put my picture on a stamp, in gratitude.


Michelle Hartz, Ph.Z. said...

That is a freaking brilliant idea! I'd go to the post office to pick up a greeting card. They could also do some small gifts, with postage paid, in their own shipping boxes.

Roger Lawrence said...

That's a good idea; but unfortunately it wouldn't work in England. Royal Mail owns the sub-pound(£) postal franchise, and that's where the real profit is.

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