The ability to buy a postage stamp online (or stamps in any quantity you like) is a remarkable and time-saving innovation. Computers have changed the way we live, no doubt about that. From the office to the car, the digital revolution makes our lives easier in a million ways, and there are new innovations and tools coming out all the time. And the opportunity to do this from the comfort of your own home is one of the best innovations that has been made possible by computers.
For many years, only the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) was aloud to sell them, it was a strict monopoly. For a fee, companies were allowed to lease a meter from the USPS and create their own at their office, but it was still necessary to return to the post office anytime the rates changed, so that the meter could be reset. Not an ideal situation by any stretch of the imagination.
In time, the USPS started allowing certain retail stores to sell them, which improved the situation somewhat; but it was only by introducing online postage in 1998 that they finally caught up with the times. These days, the USPS allows it to be purchased and printed directly by consumers, resulting in a unique barcode-enabled tag that can be applied right to the customers outgoing mail.
Stamps.com lets you do it yourself 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.. It’s the easiest, most convenient way to manage your mailing needs. All it takes is a PC and a scale to print USPS-approved postage for envelopes, packages, and even Priority Mail right from home or office. You may never have to go out unnecessarily again.
There are also many third-party companies that have jumped on the “bandwagon,” including Stamps.com. This company specialize in “offline postage printing,” and allow customers to act as their own “self service” post office, no matter if that customer is a large business or a private consumer at home.
All that is required in order to start with one of these firms is a laser or inkjet printer and the appropriate software, simple and straightforward.
But the USPS hasn’t been left out of the rush, and their website (http://www.usps.gov ) provides a variety of services, including ordering stamps online or buying commemorative albums. Of course, the USPS provides fully secure online shopping and all orders are shipped by priority mail.
Currently, experts say that small businesses and home-based offices are the most common users of these services, though larger companies are slowly entering the market as well. In fact, the market for online services dealing with this is expected to nearly double over the next five years, and is already approaching 10% of the total postage expenses of all small-businesses.
The USPS is planning even more development of its sales divisions, and soon, we could see a full-service virtual post-office online, open 24 hours a day.
With numbers like these, and a growing list of online retailers jumping into business, waiting in line could very soon be a distant memory of how things used to be in the “not-so-good old days.” But for now, buying postage online has become as easy as checking your email.