U.S. Postal Service Kiosks Introduced in Virginia
Interactive kiosks are popping up everywhere, giving busy consumers and small business owners an element of convenience in dealing with day-to-day errands and tasks. The U.S. Postal Service has recently joined their ranks.
In northern Virginia, a new convenience has been added under the direction of the U.S. Postal Service. Kiosks that help customers ship and pick up packages have been installed in seven (to date) retail locations, grocery stores and pharmacies as part of a pilot study. Called “gopost,” the service is ideal for small business owners and people on the go with little free time to stand in line at the post office.
The first gopost in a retail location was unveiled in mid-April 2012 at Ballston Common Mall in Arlington, VA. In all, 25 kiosks will be introduced in northern Virginia this year, and six others are currently being tested at post offices. The Postal Service plans to install other gopost units at places such as grocery stores, pharmacies, transportation hubs and other shopping centers.
Although the pilot study is currently only in the northern Virginia area, Darleen Reid, USPS Corporate Communications, said the post office hopes to soon expand it to other areas of the country.
Here’s how it works. Each gopost kiosk contains individual lockers, similar to the post office boxes within shipping franchises and post offices across the country that can be used to receive or ship packages. Registered users can access the kiosk (not a specific locker) through their assigned account number and PIN. The outgoing package is placed in one of the lockers that will best accommodate its size. Incoming packages are handled in a similar manner. Customers are notified via email or text as to the status of their shipment, either incoming or out-going.
Retailers can benefit from a gopost kiosk as well. “Gopost should help drive traffic to its store locations, and retailers aren’t paying any type of rent or fee to host them,” Reid said. “The USPS will work with each of its retailers to determine the best placement to ensure accessibility and convenience to as many customers as possible.”