U.S. Postal Service shops around price break on product samples

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The U.S. Postal Service wants to send you a free trial.

The nation's mail delivery service is offering companies a discount to send consumers product samples through the mail. The agency calls it a win-win: Corporations get to send free samples to consumers, and the Postal Service gets more revenue from packages.

“You can’t send a product sample by text message or email,” a USPS press release says.

The agency said it hopes to draw attention to its flat-rate prices for some mailings, as well as volume discounts businesses can qualify for.

Sending samples in the mail gives businesses an effective way to get their product out to the public and also track response, the Postal Service said. By including a coupon in the mailings, companies can see how many people then use that coupon to buy more of the product.

“They’ll buy it, if they try it,” says the slogan for the Postal Service’s Product Samples mail promotion.

Reaction on the agency’s website has been mixed.

“Is the Postal Service a marketing company, an advertising company?” one commenter wrote. “The focus here is simply wrong and demonstrates why much of the mission of the Postal Service has been ignored while it has become a lapdog to the direct mail industry.”

But another user hoped the effort would bring in revenue for the beleaguered agency.

“I think the Postal Service should be applauded for launching a test service that attempts to gauge interest in samples by mail,” the person wrote. “It is time to update the business model to reflect the realities.”

The promotion runs through the end of September.

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