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Automated Parcel Drops ease shipping, returns

Woman drops parcel into automated parcel drop machine
The Automated Parcel Drop at the Merrifield, VA, Post Office allows customers to mail pre-paid parcels.

The Postal Service is testing new equipment in some retail lobbies to make it easier for customers to drop off packages for shipment.

The Automated Parcel Drop (APD) is a self-service machine that allows customers to mail pre-paid and merchandise return parcels.

Customers scan the package’s pre-paid label barcode at the APD, deposit the package through its door and collect a paper receipt with acceptance scan date, time and tracking information.

“For our small-business customers and customers that shop online, Automated Parcel Drops make shipping and returning packages a smoother, simpler process,” said Retail and Customer Service Operations VP Kelly Sigmon.

The APD initiative is part of the Postal Service’s ongoing efforts to strengthen customer service and grow its package business.

APDs accept parcels with PC Postage online labels like eBay and Click-N-Ship, merchandise return labels, and self-service kiosk labels.

The machines are being tested in five retail lobbies in California, Florida, New York, North Dakota and Virginia.

More installations are planned, along with improvements that will allow APDs to accept packages with labels printed from mobile devices.

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