Megan J. Brennan

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

Sunday marks an important date for e-commerce marketers: USPS shipping rates are going up. The date may have seemed a long way off before the holiday rush, when package senders first learned Priority Mail fees would rise about 9.8 percent. After all, about 15 billion mail pieces and packages needed to be delivered by the new year. But the day of reckoning is here.

When I worked for DMA, one of the main talking points its leadership reminded us of was how important direct mail was for preserving the USPS for Americans. It appears as though that talking point may have had some basis in reality. While the First-Class mail letter volume continues to fall, commercial First-Class mail volumes are slightly increasing. In other words, direct mailers are helping buoy USPS, says the Office of Inspector General.

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