Do you run a small business that ships products locally? You're in luck. The US Postal Service has just launched a delivery service for you.
USPS Connect Local offers affordable next-day deliveries in all locations, while select locations will go further and include same-day and Sunday delivery as well as pickups.
The new service officially launched on Tuesday, with over 800 Texas locations already in operation and a deadline to be active in all 50 states by the end of September — right in time for the holiday shipping rush.
How USPS Connect Local Works
USPS Connect Local is aimed at bringing rates that were previously only available for larger businesses to smaller businesses, as next-day service has become increasingly important to consumers.
Local businesses with packages and mail to send through the service will have two options: Drop them off at the receiving dock of the relevant postal facility or opt for free enroute pickup from the carrier delivering their mail.
“We’ve listened carefully to our business customers to develop this program,” said Jakki Krage Strako, chief commerce and business solutions officer, in a press release. “We’re increasing next-day deliveries. We’re also giving smaller businesses big-business rates and all businesses more user-friendly ways to interact with us.”
One distinct element of the service is USPS Connect Local Mail, which offers affordable First-Class mail, with documents capped at 13 ounces. Businesses are already able to get free flat-rate bags, boxes, and envelopes through another postal service, Click-N-Ship.
How much does USPS Connect Local cost?
Rates for Connect Local start at $3.95 for a package under five pounds, and steadily rise based on weight.
The biggest cost is between 20 and 25 pounds, which costs $6.95 — everything after 25 pounds will be labelled overweight and cost a flat $20.
In addition, Sunday and holiday deliveries are another $1.95 on top of the typical rate, and more fees are added if the package exceeds certain dimensions. Full rates are available online.
Helping Local Business
Small local businesses can have a tough time competing with ecommerce giants.
Even after launching their own digital storefront with the right ecommerce-focused website builder, many of them face the conundrum of how to deliver a product to the customer without losing some freedom by hitching their operation to a corporation like Amazon's Seller Central.
While it's early days yet, the new USPS Connect Local might help startups and small businesses everywhere stay afloat.