WASHINGTON — Now, just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Postal Service has expanded a test of greeting card sales from the 500 offices that initially offered greeting cards to about 900. Busy consumers can buy, stamp and mail a greeting card while conducting other Postal Service business under this year-long pilot program launched last fall. By the end of March about 1,500 locations will offer cards.
Offering greeting cards on a limited basis serves as a market test to determine if customer interest is high enough to warrant expanding the program throughout the country, according to Robert Bernstock, president, Mailing and Shipping Services.
“Greeting cards are a great way to let someone know you are thinking about them,” Bernstock says. “And our customers’ response has been enthusiastic. They seem to appreciate the convenience of having greeting cards available while doing business at the Post Office. It’s a real time saver.”
More than half of the 7 billion greeting cards sold in the U.S. are sent through the mail. “Cards are incredibly linked to the mail,” notes Bernstock. “What better place to sell them than at our Post Offices.”
In addition to valentines, the greeting card assortment includes cards for birthdays, baby announcements, encouragement, sympathy and wedding anniversaries. Seasonal displays will offer cards appropriate to various holidays and times of the year, including Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduation.
Greeting cards join a selection of shipping and mailing products at Post Offices designed to better meet the needs of harried customers. In addition to mailing tape and packaging, special decorative mailing boxes make sending gifts easier than ever.
According to the Greeting Card Association, Valentine’s Day is the next most popular time to send cards after the winter holiday season. The most popular everyday cards are birthday cards, followed in popularity by cards celebrating anniversaries, and cards of encouragement, including get well, friendship and sympathy cards.
A special edition CD, “Love Letters From Ella,” featuring 10 classic love songs by Ella Fitzgerald, is also available during February at many larger Post Offices and online at www.usps.com/shop.