Saving Retail Postal Services

The Goin’Postal franchise in Fenton, Michigan recently announced that it has expanded its offerings to include office supplies. This announcement provides another illustration that stand-alone mailing or parcel shipping retail outlets cannot survive unless they provide a diversified selection of business and/or consumer products and services.

In the United States, the corporate outlets of FedEx and franchised outlets of United Parcel Service operate as business service centers.

After its purchase of Kinko’s, FedEx eliminated a number of its parcel shipping only retail outlets with outlets offering printing and copying services as well. The outlets, renamed FedEx Office have father diversified its services by adding more office supplies and digital printing services as demand for copying has shrunk dramatically. FedEx is also using its FedEx Office outlets as alternative pick-up locations to home or office delivery.

United Parcel Service has been repositioning its UPS Stores as community business centers, in a manner similar to what the Fenton, Michigan Goin’ Postal outlet is doing. In particular, UPS is working to expand its franchisees’ capabilities in printing and direct mail. United Parcel Service has developed a program with the Postal Service to promote the use of Every Door Direct Mail among UPS Store business customers. The UPS Store and the Graphic Communication Institute at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, have run twelve 3-day programs to train franchisors on the latest software and digital printing and finishing technologies. With over 3,500 locations in the United States, UPS stores could become a significant force in digital printing design even if they do not do the actual printing themselves.

Outside of the United States, Australia Post has developed a similar model for their franchised retail outlets and possibly their corporate offices. These outlets sell everything imaginable, with most of the items purchased from a catalog of products that Australia Post offers to its franchisees. In addition, Australia Post franchisees and corporate offices offer a range of financial services that complement services of Australia’s commercial banks.

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