Wednesday, September 8, 2010

50% off Express and Priority Mail

Office Depot has posted a 50% off coupon on its Facebook page that is good for shipping one item using the Postal Service.   The one day promotion is only good today, September 8, 2010.    It is designed to promote Office Depot's new relationship with the Postal Service and the Express Mail and Priority Mail Services that Office Depot now sells.

The promotion has attracted significant press attention in nearly every city that Office Depot has stores.   Because the sale is for one day and timed before the heavy parcel shipping season, it is unlikely to attract significant volume so the cost to Office Depot should be small. It is less if the Postal Service is covering some or all of the discount.  Office Depot can not offer a similar promotion on parcel post as it remains a remains a regulated product and any deal the Postal Service would offer to Office Depot for Parcel Post might be subject to regulatory scrutiny as would method Office Depot might use to promote the product.

Office Depot now sells parcel shipping services of United Parcel Service and the Postal Service side by side.   It is promoting the Postal Service's services on its website's homepage.  There is no mention of its UPS service although the UPS website will direct you to Office Depot stores that offer its services.

For the Postal Service's deal with Office Depot to work for Office Depot's customers, the Postal Service's Express and Priority Mail services must compete on both price and service.  For it to work for Office Depot, the Postal Service must manage all other aspects of its business relationship properly including ensuring that its agreement with Office Depot generates revenue sufficient for it to make a profit from customers who come in to ship a parcel.   If the Postal Service can do neither, Office Depot will drop the Postal Service just like it drops any other product or service that customers don't buy or it cannot sell at a profit.   The Postal Service should know fairly quickly whether it has found a better way to sell its shipping services pretty soon.

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