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USPS Testing Automated Parcel Drop Stations

October 19th, 2017

The next time you pop into the Post Office to drop off a package you might have a new option for handing it over for shipment. The U.S. Postal Service is currently testing Automated Parcel Drop (APD) self-serve kiosks in a handful of Post Office locations.

How does Automated Parcel Drop work?

The APD is a self-service machine with which you can ship packages using pre-paid shipping labels, as well as merchandise return parcels.

Many e-commerce sellers are familiar with dropping off packages at a designated location within the Post Office. As long as your package includes pre-paid shipping label—typically printed from an online postage vendor such as Stamps.com—a seller can bypass the line and simply drop their packages off for delivery. However, this process does not generate an acceptance scan until the USPS employee processes the package, which could be many hours after drop off.

The APD fixes that problem by allowing a seller to scan the label (generating an acceptance scan) and deposit the package inside at the self-service kiosk.

“For our small-business customers and customers that shop online, Automated Parcel Drops make shipping and returning packages a smoother, simpler process,” Kelly Sigmon, USPS Retail and Customer Service Operations VP, said in an article introducing the APD kiosks.

Using an Automated Parcel Drop is a quick process—just scan your package’s pre-paid label barcode, deposit the package through the APD’s door and take your tracking receipt, which notes an acceptance scan date, time and other tracking information. Maximum parcel size the APD machine can accept is 24” by 16” by 12”.

“I love it. You press a button, scan your package, lift the door, place package inside, close it, and it prints a receipt,” says one eBay Community user of the Automated Parcel Drop kiosk located in a Cupertino, California Post Office.

USPS is currently testing the Automated Parcel Drop kiosks in five Post Office locations (in California, Florida, New Work, North Dakota and Virginia) with more installations planned, as well as improvements that will allow APDs to accept packages with labels printed from mobile devices.

 

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