Like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart, the U.S. Postal Service plans to test the waters of same-day delivery service. According to its filing with the Postal Regulatory Commission, the USPS will launch a one-year market test for same-day delivery service in San Francisco on or shortly after Nov. 12, and target up to 10 online ecommerce companies and their associated retailers.
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The USPS will conduct the same-day delivery testing with an experimental competitive product called Metro Post, which is a package delivery service that provides customers with same-day delivery from participating locations within a defined metropolitan area.
The USPS will enter into relationships with qualifying online ecommerce companies to offer same-day local delivery.
Each online ecommerce company that wants to participate in the San Francisco market test must have at least physical locations nationally, one or more of which must be within the defined metropolitan area of the market test, according to the filing.
During the initial period of the USPS market test (until January 2013), only 200 packages per day may receive same-day delivery.
USPS spokesman John Friess said in an email that packages must be picked up by 2 p.m. and they will be delivered between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Friess said San Francisco was chosen as the first market test site due to the city’s population density and the number of potential delivery areas.
Friess said prices for the same-day delivery service have yet to be determined.
Consumers can request same-day delivery in one of three ways: using a qualifying online ecommerce platform to purchase items; purchase items at the retail stores that have partnered with test participants; or visit a test participant’s website to purchase items.
The filing also describes the criteria that a market test product must meet.
The USPS will monitor market demand for the Metro Post product and will submit reports to the PRC.
Jim Tierney ([email protected]) is a senior writer for Multichannel Merchant. You can connect with him on Twitter (TierneyMCM) and LinkedIn, or call him at 203-358-4265.