East Coast Envelope & Graphics is pleased to present you this series of articles on the direct mail industry and related topics. It is our hope that you will find these articles thought provoking and helpful in your interactions with your clients. Please feel free to contact us if there any topics that you would like us to address in the future.
Earlier this year, we posted a blog on the reduced postage rate extended by the removal of the exigent surcharge of 2014. This surcharge was put into effect by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to help ease some of the financial hardships that were suffered in previous years by the United States Postal Service (USPS). Unfortunately for those who try to make the most of every penny, the time has come for new prices.
The USPS has filed notice with the PRC of the price changes for Mailing Services products to take effect next year, following the end of the holiday mailing season. If approved, the new prices include a two-cent increase in the cost of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp, bringing the price back to 49 cents. This was the cost of a Forever stamp before the Postal Service was forced to reduce prices by the PRC as part of the exigent surcharge removal.
The last price increase for stamps took place in January 2014, and the USPS claims that stamp prices have stayed consistent with the average annual rate of inflation since the Postal Service was formed in 1971. The only expected price change will be for First-Class mail (stamps and flats); there will be no change in prices for postcards, letters to international destinations, or additional ounces for letters. The proposal also includes a slight decrease in Metered First-Class Mail and an increase of 1.135% to Media Mail and Library Mail. Other proposed changes include a rebranding of “Standard Mail” to USPS Marketing Mail and price increases for special services like Certificate of Mailing, Collect on Delivery, Return Receipt, Registered Mail, and Signature Confirmation.
The Table below shows how First-Class Mail costs will be adjusted in the new year. These changes are expected to take effect on January 22, 2017.
|First-Class Stamps||47 cents||49 cents||$0.02|
|First-Class Metered Letters (1 oz.)||46.5 cents||46 cents||-$0.005|
|Letters (Additional Ounces)||21 cents||21 cents||None|
|Letters (All International Destinations)||$1.15||$1.15||None|
|First-Class Mail Flat/Large Envelope (1 oz.)||94 cents||98 cents||$0.04|
|Postcards||34 cents||34 cents||None|
Here are some tips for reducing costs in light of this proposed price increase:
- Understand the mailing products that are affected by this increase. Pricing for Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services, and Extra Services will also be adjusted in 2017. Please visit www.prc.gov for more information.
- Pick the right list and clean it up. Invest the time to target the right audience, use quality data that has been properly “scrubbed,” and format your mail to comply with the latest postal regulations to reduce postage cost and waste. To read more about lists, read Winning Direct Mail Campaigns Start With the List.
- Follow the USPS Postal Explorer for confirmed rates and other January 2017 pricing files at http://pe.usps.com. You can also visit USPS Service Alerts to subscribe to near-real-time announcements regarding disruptions or suspensions to domestic and/or international mail due to weather emergencies, natural disasters, and other events.