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USPS Connect pilot begins in Texas

USPS Connect Local will offer big-volume benefits to small-business customers.

The Postal Service has launched a USPS Connect Local pilot for small-business customers in Houston and Dallas to provide local-to-local same-day and regional next-day package delivery at affordable rates.

USPS Connect Local is part of a broader USPS Connect program that will be piloted in stages to help businesses of all sizes meet growing consumer demand for affordable, fast local and regional deliveries and returns.

The pilot rolled out initially in select locations on July 19, facilitating Main Street-style commerce by offering big-volume benefits to smaller-business customers.

Once business customers are enrolled in the program and agree to the program terms, they can bring their prepaid labeled packages directly to the back dock of select postal facilities close to the packages’ final destinations. In return, they will get delivery rates during the pilot that are usually only available to large-volume mailers.

The Postal Service will add additional USPS Connect Local pilot locations in the coming weeks as the organization refines its operational capabilities.

“USPS Connect Local will give businesses of all sizes direct access to our unmatched delivery network so packages can get on postal vehicles sooner and reach consumers more quickly. It’s unprecedented and we’re excited to bring this offering to our customers — first in Texas, and then across the country once we demonstrate our readiness,” said Jakki Krage Strako, USPS chief commerce and business solutions officer.

USPS Connect is a major component of the organization’s 10-year Delivering for America plan and is expected to contribute to the plan’s goal of $24 billion in net revenue growth by offering direct access to the Postal Service’s delivery network.

The program will also help meet today’s e-commerce expectations.

Eighty-seven percent of consumers say shipping affects their decision to offer a merchant repeat business, according to data from ShipStation, a shipping software company.

Additional research by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows 51 percent of consumers have purchased more from local retailers over the past six months, a trend expected to continue.