Taking a page from the playbook of DHL with their Packstation and Amazon with their delivery lockers. The U.S. Post Office is in the test stages of rolling out it’s mail stations called gopost. The gopost mail stations are being tested in the Washington DC. area. Packages can be received and shipped from the mail stations. The gopost stations are available 7 days a week 24 hours day. There is no additional cost for the service; however, you must register to use the service. Once registered, you receive an account number/access card and pin number to access the unit. Lockers are not assigned to specific individuals as packages could be of different sizes and packages will be placed in units of appropriate size. Prepaid packages can also be sent from the gopost stations.
Here is how it works. You need to find the gopost address in your area where you would like to pick up your package. Order your product and select U.S. Post Office as the shipper. When you complete the shipping information, you will need to provide your name, gopost account number and address of the gopost location. When the post office delivers the package to the unit, your receive an email or text. When you go to pick up your package, you scan your gopost card and enter your gopost pin number on an ATM type device. The ATM type device will display the locker number and unlock the locker for you to retrieve the package. The locker will close after it has been emptied. You have 15 days to pick up your package.
DHL has over 2500 packstations with over 2,000,000 registered users in Germany. If the US Postal Service is serious about improving service and reducing costs, gopost stations might be a convenient way to provide mail service to remote and rural areas. The U.S. Post Office has been testing for two years. Some of the advantages of the gopost station are 7 by 24 availability, no waiting in line at the post office or dealing with postal employees. The machines could be placed at existing post offices or in a secure public area to ensure safety.
Some of the disadvantages of gopost machines; individuals who have limited technical skills may not be able to retrieve their package if they do have email or text capability. Handicapped individuals may not be able to reach the upper level lockers.
It will be interesting to see how fast the U.S. Post Office rolls out the gopost stations. The gopost stations and self service kiosks will become a part of the way that we send and receive mail much like how we check in at the airport and do our banking via ATM machines. The question is how fast the rollout can occur and how does the U.S. Post Office market these new services to the public. Education and marketing of the new service are keys to making the rollout a success.
Logistics Trends will keep you posted on this development.