Effective January 22, with the rate increase, the USPS is allowing first class presorted and automation letters weighing up to two ounces to be mailed at the one ounce rate. This program is aimed at transactional mailings (such as bills, invoices, and statements) and enables mailers to include marketing, informational, or survey material at no additional postage cost. No registration is required, there is no annual minimum threshold, and no payment rebates are needed. The new pricing is for presorted mail only and does not apply to letters mailed at the single-piece rate or to residual first class mail from a bulk mailing.
A fact sheet on the 2nd Ounce Free program is available at https://www.usps.com/business/first-class-mail-for-business.htm. Look for the clickable link under the Calculate Business Prices bar.
2012 Mobile Commerce and Personalization Promotion
In July and August of 2011, the USPS offered a three percent discount on standard and first class postage for mail pieces containing a 2D mobile bar code—better known as a QR code. The purpose of the promotion was to demonstrate how mobile technology can be integrated in mail campaigns. According to the USPS report submitted at the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), customer participation far exceeded expectations. In the 2011 promotion, more than five billion pieces were mailed; generating a savings to mailers of $34 million.
The details of the 2012 program were announced in February 2012. The program will be held again in July and August and include first class and standard mail letters, cards, and flats; the discount has been dropped to two percent; the mail piece must include a call to action referring to the QR code; and the QR codes must link to a mobile-optimized website or a PURL. Only Intelligent Mail barcodes will be allowed (i.e., no PostNet) and the Statement of Mailing must be submitted through eDocumentation (Mail.dat, mail.xml, or Postal Wizard). Non-profit mailers can participate, but periodical mailers are excluded.
For the specifics on the program, including eligibility and registration requirements, go to https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=mobilebarcode. Registration begins May 1, 2012.
Nancy DeDiemar is a former chairman of NAQP and Printer of the Year. She is the co-publisher of Printips (www.printips.com), a newsletter subscription service for printers. Contact her at Nancy91762@gmail.com.