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More Small Business Choices This Holiday Season Thanks To Postal Reform

Editor’s note: This article was sent in response to a piece we ran last month titled “New Congress Must Revisit Postal Reform.”

Every year more and more Americans turn to e-commerce for their holiday shopping. From decor to hosting needs to gifts, almost a third of consumers are expecting to do more online shopping this year compared to last year. Household budgets remain tight, but online deals, low-cost shipping, and the simple convenience of deliveries straight to our doorsteps make e-commerce an easy choice for Americans. This year, the sheer choice available online – especially from small businesses and retailers on marketplaces like Etsy and eBay – is empowered by postal reform.

Congress passed the bipartisan Postal Service Reform Act this March, providing much-needed changes to keep the Postal Service on track in the digital age. In addition to critical financial and operational improvements, postal reform ensured that mail and packages will continue to be delivered together, 6 days a week. Affordable and reliable postal package delivery is a lifeline for rural communities, for seniors, and for small businesses.

As the country heads into uncertain economic times, holiday e-commerce sales this year will be especially important for small businesses. The Post Office helps them to keep their operating costs low, with many small businesses crediting the Postal Service for helping them to stay afloat. Local mail carriers come 6 or 7 days of the week, dropping off and picking up mail and packages. Additionally, postal delivery prices are generally lower than private carriers’ rates. Keeping shipping prices low is especially important right now for small businesses. With affordable postal package pricing, small businesses can offer low or even free shipping to consumers. Similarly, low-cost shipping options at checkout make consumers more likely to purchase when shopping online.

Given rising inflation and the looming threat of more economic hardship, consumers are highly conscious of their holiday shopping budgets. Not only does e-commerce give them more choices to peruse, but postal package delivery’s low prices enable them to still afford products from their favorite small businesses.

Not every zip code in the country is created equal.  The Postal Service is the only carrier available to many rural and remote Americans. Other carriers like UPS impose extra surcharges on more than 50% of the country’s zip codes – many of which they don’t even deliver to, dropping off the packages for the Postal Service to handle for the last mile. Affordable package delivery keeps rural small businesses connected with consumers across the country. Likewise, rural customers can shop online from stores around the country and receive products directly to their homes.

Online holiday purchases are forecasted to increase 10-12% this year, amounting to over $260 billion in sales. That’s why the Postal Service prepares all year round for the holiday shipping season. This year they are expecting to process nearly 60 million packages every day, compared to last year’s 53 million packages. The critical changes and improvements made by the Postal Service Reform Act will empower yet another successful holiday season for the customers and small businesses who depend on United States Postal Service.

John M. McHugh is former secretary of the U.S. Army and former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He currently serves as chairman of the Package Coalition.

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