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StampsOnline

The U.S. Postal Service launched a two-week test yesterday of a virtual post office. During the pilot, 2,300 pre-selected customers will be able to purchase a limited selection of stamps and stamp products on the World Wide Web via credit cards. The ‘StampsOnline’ web site was launched last year to provide information about the stamp program and the hobby of stamp collecting. Since its initial launch, the USPS says 60% of e-mail messages received have been inquiries to purchase stamps online. If this month’s pilot is successful the USPS will open ‘StampsOnline’ to the general public during the first quarter 1998.

FULL STORY:
The virtual post office will soon be coming to computers nationwide. The U.S. Postal Service announced today a limited test of the sale of stamps and stamp products online.

During the two week test, the 2,300 customers will be able to purchase a limited selection of stamps and stamp products on the World Wide Web, and have the option to pay for purchases with their credit cards.

Only those customers selected for the test will be authorized to access the site during the test period, which is scheduled to end December 28. Based on the Postal Service’s existing StampsOnline Web site, services are expected to be offered to the general public early next year.

“This addition to StampsOnline is the latest Postal Service initiative to make it easier for our customers to do business with us. In today’s competitive environment, our customers told us they wanted to have the convenience of being able to purchase stamps and stamp products online — quickly and safely,” said Postmaster General Marvin Runyon.

“Just as the Postal Service has protected the integrity of the mail for more than 200 years, StampsOnline will incorporate the latest technology to ensure the security of online transactions,” added Runyon.

StampsOnline shoppers will browse through the online post office, make selections, and fill their “shopping cart.” Utilizing industry standard security measures, each online credit card transaction will be electronically encrypted. Customers interested in the convenience of online shopping without using a credit card will be able to call 1-800-STAMP24 or print an order form and mail it to the Postal Service’s Stamp Fulfillment Services.

StampsOnline made its debut on the World Wide Web in 1996 as a site dedicated to providing information about the U.S. stamp program and the hobby of stamp collecting. Since then, more than 60% of e-mail messages received by the site’s administrator indicated a desire to purchase stamps and products online.

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