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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Online delivery of groceries continues to gain steam, with the United States Postal Service (USPS) becoming the latest to join the pack.
Following the loss of billions in revenue during the last several years, the USPS announced that it will pilot a new delivery service called "Customized Delivery." Under the program, the USPS will partner with retailers to deliver groceries and other prepackaged goods to customers from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. Retailers can bring the deliveries to their local post offices between 1:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m.
"Grocery delivery services are expanding across the nation, with businesses ranging from the nation's largest retailers, to niche operators, to the popular car service Uber entering the marketplace," according to the proposal sent to the Postal Regulatory Commission last week. "With its operational reach, the Postal Service has an opportunity to provide retailers a nationwide solution that offers a trained workforce and the trust and reliability of the Postal Service brand."
This pilot program is slated to begin Oct. 24, with the testing period lasting for two years.
Currently, the USPS delivers groceries for Amazon.com in the San Francisco area, averaging 160 totes per day throughout 38 ZIP codes. The two-month test in that area is set to end in mid-October.
If launched permanently, Amazon's partnership with USPS will likely facilitate AmazonFresh's expansion, which now operates in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Seattle.
Based upon forecasts, the USPS aims to generate $10 million per year from the service, dependent upon the "number of participating retailers, the scope of their businesses … and the demand for grocery delivery among consumers in the marketplace," the proposal stated.