The struggling U.S. Postal Service is actively looking for new ways to increase revenue, including mining Americans’ personal information for data to sell to marketers.
At PostalVision 2020, a conference focused on reimagining the Postal Service’s role as Americans increasingly favor electronic communication, USPS chief marketing and sales officer Nagisa Manabe said that the agency is seeking to broaden its services.
According to Manabe, the Postal Service is considering forming partnerships with retailers and tech companies in order to get into the business of delivering consumables like groceries.
“We are not that far from the point where the refrigerator will simply be able to reorder for you,” she said. “You will see us looking to collaborate with grocery chains across the country. We’d like to experiment with grocery delivery, so that’s one of the areas where we’re looking in earnest.”
The official also discussed the Postal Service’s desire to follow the examples of tech giants like Facebook and Google and track Americans’ habits and preferences to build data sets that it would sell to advertisers and retails.
Facebook and Google glean information from users’ profiles, email inboxes and search queries. The Postal Service would presumably collect data sets from the parcels it delivers.
Manabe gave an example of how the Postal Service might sell the information of a woman in the market for a new car.
“We’re at the point where, all too soon … we’re going to know exactly that she was shopping at two different car dealers looking at cars, and both of those car dealers should be mailing her communication about that vehicle, right? And we’re there now, folks. I mean, you all know this. There are dozens of folks out there who are supplying that kind of information. If we’re not testing and exploring some of that together, we should,” Manabe said, according to eCommerce Bytes.
“As we know more and more about how consumers are traveling around and making their decisions, it behooves us to get involved and actually send them information to actually close the deal,” she added. “For me, it’s all about speed and accuracy of the mail.”
Manabe’s suggestions are only the most recent ideas floated to increase Postal Service revenues as Americans continue to send less mail and the agency is increasingly threatened by privately owned delivery services like FedEx and UPS.
Earlier in the year, the Postal Service’s inspector general released a white paper suggesting that the USPS should begin offering financial services such as check cashing, money transfers and small loans to keep its nearly 500,000 employees busy.
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