The USPS Will Deliver Groceries to Your Doorstep — Expanding Its Trial Run

White tote bag filled with fresh produce and groceries

Fresh groceries delivered right to your doorstep? It’s no longer just a fantasy. The U.S. Postal Service recently requested permission from the Postal Regulatory Commission to deliver groceries. Same- and next-day grocery and meal delivery has become a hot battleground with pilot programs popping up left and right, especially in metropolitan areas.

The USPS is currently testing and perfecting its delivery operations. How does it work?

According to GeekWire, the retailer packs the groceries into retailer-branded totes (some of which are chilled or include freezer packs) and brings them to Postal Service destination delivery units (DDUs) between 1:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. The totes all have a QR code on the outside. Next, the Postal Service receives a manifest file from the retailer that contains the address and QR code number for each tote. The Postal Service uses this file to dynamically route the totes. Afterwards, City Carrier Assistants (CCAs) scan the totes using iPhone scanning, which provides route order information. The totes are then sorted by route and delivery order, and are loaded onto a truck for delivery. Deliveries occur between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. and are unattended, which means that the CCA will not ring the doorbell or knock on the door. Instead, the carrier places the totes in a location designated by the consumer for delivery.

Deliveries have been averaging one to four totes per address with an average of 160 totes per day for the 38 zip codes included in the testing.

This latest announcement comes on the heels of the USPS opting out of dimensional weight pricing (which FedEx and UPS will soon introduce) and bringing down rates for USPS Priority Mail.

For more news and tips, check out our FedEx vs. UPS vs. USPS shipping rates comparison page.

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