USPS Pitches Summer Sale 2010

The U.S. Postal Service is planning a “Summer Sale” on postage for any increased Standard Mail volume for some catalog Mailers. This is a followup to last summer’s inaugural program.

The USPS will submit a filing with the Postal Regulatory Commission for this incentive; the PRC has to approve it. Hamilton Davison, executive director for the American Catalog Mailers Association, says this year’s Summer Sale is similar to the 2009 version.

Here’s what the program looks like right now:

• Incentive period: July 1 to Sept. 30, 2010.

• Products: All Standard Mail letters and flats.

• Control months: June and October.

• Rebate amount: 30% off applicable rate above baseline.

• Baseline: Same Period Last Year (SPLY) + 5% (i.e. 105% of what you actually mailed in the July to Sept. 2009 period)

• Control: Downward adjustment if June or October volume is below baseline (prevents shifting of volume into incentive period)

• Qualification: Customers must have mailed more than 350,000 Standard Mail pieces in the baseline period of July 1 to Sept. 30, 2009. This covers about 3,525 customers, or 67% of Standard Mailers. Mail service providers (the printers and preparers that physically execute mail and give it to the USPS) are not eligible to aggregate volume on behalf of their customers.

“The fine print is expected largely to be the same as in the past,” Davison says. Is the PRC likely to approve the summer mail sale? Davison thinks so.

“We are continuing our work with the USPS on developing a permanent incentive structure that can be put in place,” he says. “That is a much better solution for both catalogers and the USPS than a temporary incentive program that may or may not occur.”