USPS Testing Same-day Delivery in Washington D.C.
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has expanded its Metro Post same-day delivery service to Washington D.C. The program, which started testing in San Francisco in 2012 and in New York City in 2013, delivers by 8 p.m. orders placed with participating retailers before 2 p.m.
The expansion seems to signify a more ambitious effort by USPS to compete with the increasing number of online retailers offering same-day shipping. Amazon offers it in 12 U.S. markets and recently added one-hour delivery in New York City (with plans to implement it in other cities soon). Google expanded its Express delivery service to include Chicago, Boston and Washington D.C. along with New York and Los Angeles. And eBay now offers same-day delivery in New York.
For the struggling postal service, establishing itself as a major player in the booming e-commerce market could be key to its survival. Forrester Research predicts U.S. online retail sales will grow by 9.5 percent each year and reach $414 billion by 2018—that's a lot of potential business. And as Tige Savage of The Washington Post writes, it just makes sense for USPS:
"If you look at the true advantage of the Postal Service over FedEx, UPS and the others, it is not logistics or price or the ability to do same-day delivery. The competitors are often better at this—it's the monopoly the Postal Service has been granted to touch your mailbox and all your mail. Nobody else is allowed to do this without permission. If you were running the USPS, wouldn't you look for ways to leverage this monopoly?"
That's not to say USPS won't have to work out some kinks. According to eCommerceBytes, the U.S. Office of Inspector General found that the postal service's initial Metro Post effort in San Francisco was "not properly implemented," leading to its cancellation and prompting the Postal Regulatory Commission to issue new regulations for its market tests. The New York Metro Post testing remains underway.