Recently in Postal Service Category

5 Ecommerce Issues You Forgot--And How to Fix Them

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Want to increase conversions, provide customers with a better shopping experience, and cut down on cart abandonment? Check out these five ecommerce issues you probably forgot and how to fix them to solve these problems and more.

1. The Fat Finger Syndrome

Customers are terrible at typing--especially when it comes to filling out incredibly small contact forms on their smartphones. The fat finger syndrome accounts for many name misspellings, incorrect addresses, email bouncebacks, and invalid order submissions. To take the burden off the customer, try implementing a real-time autocomplete solution. By automatically showing verified addresses and emails as the customer types, you'll help alleviate fat finger syndrome and cut down on form abandonment.


2. International Postal Standards Vary

Did you know that in Japan, the last name goes first on shipping labels? And in Canada, the postal codes consist of letters and numbers arranged in a specific way? Those are just two examples of how address standardization can differ from country to country. So, if you're planning to go international, be mindful of varying postal requirements and make sure you have an address verification solution that can verify, standardize, format and transliterate. Solutions like Melissa's Global Address Verification do all of this and more--like adding precise lat/long coordinates to addresses for 40+ countries.


3. Upfront Shipping Matters

Amazon has shown the way towards better conversions, more sales, and cost-effective shipping with upfront shipping costs and delivery dates shown at every step of the order process. Now, you can, too! With Decimal, a comprehensive shipping rates manager and delivery dates predictor, you can provide your customers with calculations for shipping while they shop, without interrupting their purchase. That means more customers hitting Submit Order without delay.


4. Clean Data Affects Everything

Are you sure you're only storing accurate customer data? The data you collect directly on your site, via call-in orders, through internal systems, and mobile all need to match to show accurate customer records in order to better know your customers, increase upsell opportunities, and provide good customer service. By cleaning data before it enters your database and maintaining it after, you can ensure that every customer's name, address, phone, and email are accurate and verified.


5. Fraud Costs More than Lost Sales

Let's look at some stats--every year, businesses lose $3.5 trillion in revenue to financial crimes, and 15.4 million consumers were victims of identity theft in 2016 alone. Don't let fraud and chargeback costs steal your bottom line. Instead, use an ID verification solution like Personator®, which combs through 2.1 billion records to match name-to-address and verify that every customer is exactly who they say they are.


On March 22, the USPS® PAVE™ (Presort Accuracy, Validation, and Evaluation) program renewed Gold Certification for all of Melissa's presort mailing solutions. In fact, Melissa presorting solutions have been PAVE Certified for over 22 years, and we are committed to achieving this honor every year. 

Melissa PAVE Gold certified products include:

·         MAILERS+4® Standard Edition Desktop Software

·         MAILERS+4 Professional Edition Desktop Software

·         MAILERS Online - Cloud Based Postal Software Alternative

·         Presort Object® API

Products that achieve Standard certification undergo an extensive manual review to determine that all documentation including the USPS® Qualification Report, PS forms, barcoded tray and sack tags, and other user documentation meet with DMM® regulations.

Products like Melissa's presort solutions achieve Gold Certification by undergoing extensive electronic analysis in addition to the manual documentation review. Electronic evaluation allows for more rigorous and in-depth examination for each piece in the test mailing to ensure compliance.

Using a PAVE Gold Certified product gives mailers assurance that their mail will be prepared accurately and qualify for the lowest postage rates available. Melissa PAVE Certified products support First-Class Mail, Marketing Mail™ (Standard Mail®), Periodicals, and NonProfit Mail including card size, letter size, flat size, automation, non-automation, non-machinable, Standard Carrier Route, and destination discounts for SCF, NDC, and DDU.  

MAILERS Online: On Demand & In the Cloud Presorting

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Say hello to a no-contract, end-to-end mailing solution that's in the cloud and easy to use. MAILERS Online is a one-stop-shop for all your mailing and presort needs, where you can upload your text or Excel® files to our server and let Melissa take it from there. We'll presort your list, based on your selected parameters, to get you the lowest postage rates! MAILERS Online is a flexible, on-demand, software as a service (SaaS).


There is nothing to install and MAILERS Online never requires disks or updates. Use on a list-by-list basis--with no contract or subscription, you're never locked in. Use NCOA to locate customers who've moved; clean and verify address data to reduce undeliverable-as-addressed mail; and append missing data like ZIP® Codes, carrier routes, and suite numbers for stronger targeting and more efficient processing and delivery.


Find out what can MAILERS Online do for you today:

Melissa Data Offers Free Palletization in MAILERS+4

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Rancho Santa Margarita, CALIF- May 12, 2015 - Melissa Data, a leading provider of contact data quality and address management solutions, today announced the phase one release of Palletization options for MAILERS+4 postal automation software. Palletization makes it easier to store and organize high volumes of First-Class and Standard Mail, and is available to new customers free for one full year.MAILERS+4 with Palletization provides flexibility for bulk mail customers who are constantly challenged with complex sorting, organizing and transporting mail in the most efficient ways possible; the solution directly addresses the difficult task of working with multiple trays or bulky sacks, while minimizing costs for shipping and associated labor.


For more info, please visit our website.

SmartMover Updates Business and Individual Addresses; Ensures Compliance with New Canadian Mail Laws Requiring In-Country NCOA Processing

Rancho Santa Margarita, CALIF. - August 12, 2014 - Melissa Data, a leading provider of contact data quality and data enrichment solutions, today announced SmartMover, its cloud-based NCOA service, now provides Canadian change-of-address processing, as well as U.S. address updates for individuals, families, and companies that have recently moved. SmartMover compares address data in real time*, updating existing customer information against more than 160 million address changes recorded in the USPS® NCOALink® (National Change of Address) database, representing permanent change-of-address records filed in the U.S. within the last 48 months. SmartMover also matches data against over 10 million change-of-address records filed by Canadian households and businesses within the last 72 months. SmartMover complies with Canada's new licensing regulation requiring NCOA processing to be handled on Canadian soil.

"More than 40 million individuals, families and businesses move annually in the U.S. alone, about 14 percent of the country's population. For mailers and data processors, maintaining current address information in such a dynamic environment presents a significant challenge and warrants a data quality strategy optimized to reduce costs and undeliverable mail," said Chris Rowe, VP of Data Enhancement Services at Melissa Data. "Melissa Data is one of only 13 vendors licensed by Canada Post to provide Canadian NCOA so mailers can stay in contact with customers in both Canada and the U.S."

As a cloud-based service, SmartMover is available 24/7 for fast, safe, and secure processing with the ability to handle more than one million records per hour. The service also standardizes, parses, and validates addresses, whether or not it updates the record with a new address. In addition to the SmartMover cloud solution, end-users can access U.S. and Canadian change-of-address processing by sending files via email to Melissa Data's service bureau or by setting up fully- automated NCOA workflows via FTP.

Mailing lists processed through the NCOALink service meet the USPS Move- Update requirement for a period of 95 days from the date of processing and mailing, necessary for First-Class Mail® and Standard Mail® postal discounts.

Click here to request a free trial of Melissa Data's SmartMover cloud-based change-of-address service, or call 1-800-MELISSA (635-4772) for more information.

*Melissa Data receives weekly NCOALink updates from the USPS.

News Release Library

Online Merchants Can Now Verify and Correct Worldwide Customer Addresses; Better Customer Data Reduces Shipping Costs and
Eliminates Online Fraud

Rancho Santa Margarita, CALIF. - June 25, 2014 - Melissa Data, a leading provider of contact data quality and integration solutions, today announced a new data quality plug-in for users of Shopware, ensuring powerful contact data quality for e-commerce applications. The Shopware plug-in enables online merchants to verify and correct addresses as they are entered, validating information from more than 240 countries and territories in real-time. The plug-in is based on Melissa Data's Global Address Verification capabilities and was developed by NetzTurm GmbH, a service provider for the implementation of online stores, search engine optimization and web design. The two firms are now engaged in an exclusive partnership for data quality in Shopware-based ecommerce sites.

Online merchants can instantly validate and cleanse international addresses, correcting and standardizing them into the official postal format of each geographic locale, and adding missing components such as postal codes or region. Data fields are populated automatically using an efficient type-ahead feature that auto-completes entries after the first few digits or letters have been entered. Data entry is not only correct, but also up to 50 percent faster with reduced keystrokes, improving the customer's online experience and increasing website conversions.

"With data quality integrated into Shopware, online shoppers have only one step between shopping cart and checkout, which can drastically reduce the drop-off rate during the checkout process. Bad data is eliminated at the source, improving the customer's overall shopping experience with faster, easier order entry and fewer delivery errors," said Gary Van Roekel, COO, Melissa Data. "For the online merchant, accurate shipping and billing information is everything - reducing online fraud, enabling smooth operations and ensuring the best overall customer service."

In addition to ensuring lower shipping costs, timely deliveries and lower return rates, better customer data also improves the success rate of merchants' direct marketing activities. The solution also supports online shops in reaching new markets and customer groups. Both Melissa Data and NetzTurm also plan to develop further joint plug-in technologies for other e-commerce platforms in the future.

Click here to download the Shopware data quality plug-in, available as a stand-alone product, or bundled with "One-Page-Checkout" from NetzTurm. The plug-in is available at a net price of 759 € including 5,000 queries valid for one year and the auto-completion feature for international addresses.

News Release Library

Canada Post Restructures Business Model - to Survive

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By Abby Garcia Telleria

It looks like even Canada's postal service isn't immune from what's plagued the USPS®. In a stunning (and eerily similar) move, Canada Post recently announced it would phase out home delivery in its urban centers within the next five years. Like its U.S. counterpart, Canada Post has also faced mounting losses and declining mail volume, mostly due to the rising use of digital communication and soaring pension costs.

Under its new plan, Canada Post will replace door-to-door delivery with community mail boxes. Residents will instead, go to a group mail box to collect mail and parcels. About one third of Canadian households still receive mail at their door. The other two thirds already get their mail through community mailboxes or at curbside rural mailboxes.

Eliminating home delivery is just part of the post's "Five-Point Action Plan" to return its system to financial sustainability by 2019. The Canada Post cited a recent Conference Board of Canada study as a reason to act now, rather than later. The study projected close to $1 billion in losses by 2020 - a significant financial punch in the gut, unless the post makes serious fundamental changes to its operations.

"If left unchecked, continued losses would soon jeopardize its financial self-sufficiency and become a significant burden on taxpayers and customers," according to a statement from Canada Post.

The move definitely makes sense. According to the Associated Press, gradually weeding out door delivery service would save Canada Post roughly $542 million ($576 million in Canadian dollars) a year.

Here's the lowdown on other points to Canada Post's plan:

  • Change its pricing structure to reflect higher postal rates
  • Expand postal franchises to strengthen its retail network
  • Cut 6,000 to 8,000 jobs to streamline its operations and create a leaner workforce

The Parallels Stop There

While Canada Post's push for financial recovery is similar to the plight of the U.S. Postal Service - there are some underlying differences. For one, Canada Post doesn't have to ask the Canadian government for approval to make changes on how it runs its operations. According to Canada Post, the organization has a mandate from the federal government to fund its operations with revenues from the sale of its products and services, rather than taxpayer money.

So unlike the USPS, Canada Post isn't mired in congressional red tape. Earlier this year, USPS proposed cost-cutting initiatives that included discontinuing Saturday and door-to-door delivery, and most recently, to raise its postage rates. While Congress approved increasing postal rates, all other measures are still pending a final decision in Congress.

What could this mean for Canada Post? That it will have the ability to move ahead with its plans to right its ship - before it sinks.

--- Abby Garcia Telleria is a senior copywriter at Melissa Data. She can be reached at abby(AT)melissadata(DOT)com.

The Last Resort? USPS® Proposes 5.9 Percent Rate Hike

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By Abby Garcia Telleria

Could this be a last ditch effort by the USPS? Last week, the USPS proposed an emergency (or exigent) postal rate hike - a 5.9 percent increase from 46 cents to 49 cents for First-Class Mail® - to keep the beleaguered agency afloat. The proposed increase would go into effect January 2014.

Won't Go Down Without a Fight

Earlier this year, the Postal Service™ came out with guns blazing - working with lawmakers to propose cost-cutting initiatives that included eliminating Saturday and door-to-door delivery. But those measures - including this most recent push to raise rates - are still pending a final decision. The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) is expected to review all the options.

It would seem that the Postal Service has exhausted all efforts to right its ship.

Postmaster General Patrick Donohoe recently spoke before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, saying they had no choice but to take this drastic measure. "We did not want to take this step, but we had little choice due to our current financial condition," Donahoe said.

Here's the rundown on some of the proposed changes:
  • Letters (1 oz.) - 3 cent jump to 49 cents
  • Letters (additional ounces) - 1 cent increase to 21 cents
  • Letters to international destinations (1 oz.) - $1.15
  • Postcards - 1 cent increase to 34 cents
  • Saturation mail - Current rates at $0.115 - announced rates at $0.121 - a 5.2 percent change

No surprise here - the rate increase is intended to generate $2 billion in revenue for the Postal Service. But is it enough to help salvage the "precarious financial condition" of the agency?

The Postal Service recorded a $15.9 billion net loss last fiscal year and expects to record a loss of roughly $6 billion this year. Add to it, the USPS stated that it currently has an "intolerably low level" of available liquidity even after defaulting on its obligation to make prefunding payments for retiree health benefits.

The Reaction

Needless to say, those in the industry are none too happy about the proposed rate increase. Most expressed concern that the rate hike would be almost four times the 1.6 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) - in other words, the postage rates would be above the rate of inflation.

"Mailers, including (our) members, are also struggling with tight budgets, and the above-CPI rate increases are likely to accelerate the long-term erosion of mail volume," stated the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers.

The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) also released a statement calling the move "misguided," and saying it was "extremely disappointed," and that the action will "significantly harm the Postal Service and the mailing industry in the very near future."

According to the DMA statement, "Rather than lowering prices at times of weak sales -- a common practice in businesses across the United States -- the Board of Governors has misguidedly decided that raising prices will help cure its lack of sales. On the contrary, the problem of decreased mail volume will only worsen as mailers cease to rely upon the United States Mail to reach consumers."

At any rate, we will continue to update you on new developments ... stay tuned!

-- Abby Garcia Telleria is a senior copywriter at Melissa Data. She can be reached at

Postal Service Could End Door-to-Door Delivery

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By Abby Garcia Telleria

Could the end of door-to-door mail delivery be near? The big word is maybe - if House lawmakers get their way.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has proposed a plan that would eliminate doorstop delivery, and require residents to get their mail at a curbside or secure cluster box. The plan - known as the Postal Reform Act of 2013 (H.R. 2748) - is to help the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service® slash costs and restructure its finances, after losing billions of dollars each year.

"The commonsense reforms in this legislation will restore the United States Postal Service® to long-term financial solvency while maintaining high-quality universal service for all Americans," said Issa in a statement. Issa is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

According to CNN Money, delivering mail is the Postal Service's largest fixed cost at $30 billion. Scrapping door-to-door deliveries would save the agency $4 billion or more each year. About a quarter of addresses receive mail through door-to-door delivery, while more than 70 percent of the nation already receive mail via curbside or clusterbox delivery, the proposal states.

But the door-to-door delivery proposal is just one facet of Issa's broad-ranging bill. Other highlights of the plan include having USPS® shift to a more modified Saturday delivery schedule, which would allow the Postal Service™ to maintain Saturday delivery of packages and medicine - while phasing out the delivery of mail, such as bills and advertisements.

Earlier this year, Congress passed a "continuing resolution" - basically prohibiting 5-day delivery by ordering the Postal Service to continue Saturday mail delivery.

Issa's proposal, on the other hand, calls for the end of Saturday delivery, but continue six-day package delivery service.

We'll continue to update you on more developments!

- Abby Garcia Telleria is a marketing specialist for Melissa Data.


Postal Service: Saturday Mail Delivery, Still On

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By Abby Garcia Telleria

Abby Telleria
It seems like the USPS® can't catch a break. Earlier this year, the Postal Service® proposed a plan to end Saturday delivery in an effort to curb massive losses, slash costs, and restore the beleaguered agency to long-term financial stability. According to published reports, instituting a 5-day delivery schedule would save the Postal Service roughly $2 billion annually.

The proposed delivery schedule would consist of package delivery Monday through Saturday, and mail delivery Monday through Friday.

But just last month, Congress passed a "continuing resolution" - effectively prohibiting 5-day delivery by ordering the Postal Service to continue Saturday mail delivery.

The move halted the Postal Service's momentum. The USPS' Board of Governors recently voted to shelve the proposed delivery schedule, at least until "legislation is passed that provides the Postal Service with the authority to implement a financially appropriate and responsible delivery schedule."

The Board issued a statement, saying "Congress has left it with no choice but to delay this implementation at this time."

What does this mean now for the Postal Service? "It's not possible for the Postal Service to meet significant cost reduction goals without changing its delivery schedule - any rational analysis of our current financial condition and business options leads to this conclusion," the agency said in a statement.

For now, the Postal Service will reopen negotiations with postal unions to discuss lowering workforce costs, and take actions necessary (read: possible postage rate increases) to reduce costs.

We'll continue to update you on any new developments ... stay tuned!

-- Abby Garcia Telleria is a marketing specialist for Melissa Data.