USPS OIG Report: Value of the Postal Service’s Retail Network for Small Businesses

  • The small business segment in the U.S. is growing and has a strong potential to generate more revenue for the Postal Service.
  • Consumer expectations are changing, including demands for faster shipping. For small businesses to compete with larger competitors, they need help with speedy and efficient logistics and fulfillment.
  • Additional services and further outreach to small businesses at post offices can position the Postal Service for continued success serving this segment.
  • The Postal Service’s Delivering for America 10-year plan, released in March 2021, acknowledges the need to improve how the retail network serves small businesses.

Small businesses are an important segment of the Postal Service’s customer base and comprise an overwhelming majority of all businesses in the U.S. The number of small businesses has been growing, especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. With post offices conveniently located in every community in the country, offering a bevy of affordable mailing and shipping products and services, the Postal Service is uniquely positioned to be the choice of small businesses.

In this white paper, the OIG sought to identify the products, services, and outreach offered to small businesses through the Postal Service’s retail network of post offices and assess how the small business community perceives these offerings. Additionally, this paper offers some ideas for new retail products and services that could meet the emerging needs of small businesses.

For example, USPS could help them address evolving consumer expectations for fast delivery and provide convenient return options. This could entail solutions, such as e-commerce fulfillment, that enable prompt and easy delivery to local customers. Providing additional services at post offices, such as small business consulting and enhanced self-service options, could make the retail network more valuable to small business customers. The agency could also standardize its small businesses marketing across the retail network, more proactively reach out to local small business organizations, and collect stronger data on its small business customers.

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Source: USPS OIG

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