The USPS Office of Inspector General has just issued a white paper on retail foot traffic at the more than 30,000 USPS-run post offices. The report shows that Americans visited post offices some 2.7 billion times in FY 2016 — about triple the Postal Service’s official figure for customer visits, which refers to transactions only. This has some important implications and suggests that USPS has been under-valuing its retail network. The report points to ways the Postal Service could use more complete foot traffic information to better manage post offices for the benefit of the American people.
Other key findings:
- Post office foot traffic varies widely. The 450 largest locations have on average about as much foot traffic as Best Buy stores, while the next 7,000 largest have about as much traffic as CVS locations.
- An OIG survey shows that Millennials actually visit post offices more often than older generations, but for different purposes.
- Most visits don’t include a transaction. Instead, customers may check a PO box, pick up free shipping materials, or stick letters in the collection slot.
Following private sector best practices, USPS could use foot traffic information to make better retail decisions and improve customer service, sales, and efficiency. Read the report here.
(By the way, the results of the OIG investigation largely confirm the speculations in a “Save the Post Office” article back in November 2011 entitled “How Many People Use the Post Office? Does the Postal Service Even Know?“)