|The Internet, the Post Office, and FedEx-New Best Buds|
|Key Words||Internet, shipping, US Postal Service, e-commerce|
|News Story||Last year, the U.S. Postal Service saw its revenue from first-class mail fall by 1%--most likely the victim of email, fax and other forms of online communication. So why is the USPS embracing the Internet? Because last year its revenue from package delivery rose 2.8%, as it handled over 3 billion packages of items sold over the Internet.
E-commerce sites like Amazon.com and eBay have become the USPS's best friend. UPS and FedEx are also pretty friendly with these sites, which need ways to get their goods from suppliers to purchasers. When those shippers want it done in huge numbers, they call on the shipping experts.
According to researchers, online sales are expected to hit over $132 billion in 2006, and all of those items have to be shipped somewhere. And it's not just the retailers. Netflix, a DVD-rental site, ships 1.4 million DVDs daily via USPS. To improve efficiency, Netflix has located DVD shipping facilities around the country near mail sorting centers.
The synergy developing between shippers and online merchants is altering shippers' services to make merchants' lives easier. The USPS introduced a flat-rate $8.10 box, which is big enough to hold five books - or other goods - for people shipping goods on eBay. And the synergy continues among shippers themselves. FedEx has introduced FedEx SmartPost, in which FedEx has partnered with none other than the USPS. Under this arrangement, FedEx ships the package part of the way, and then hands it off to the USPS for the actual home delivery. That way FedEx can concentrate on the cheaper long-distance shipping.
|Source||Hafner, Katie. "Postal Service Finds a Friend in the Internet." The New York Times. August 2, 2006.|
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