United States Postal Service

Tuesday - 9/22/2009, 5:41pm EDT

Gone soon will be the days of trekking to your neighborhood Post Office for a single first-class stamp. In coming years, you will print that stamp directly from your computer or smart phone.

"Our goal is that . . . you will be able to turn your home, your office, your mobile device into a virtual Post Office," said Bob Bernstock, president of Mailing and Shipping Services for the U.S. Postal Service.

It's part of an effort to boost revenue and customer service. The Postal Service already offers many services on its Web site, including the ability to purchase stamp books and schedule package pickup, but the vision is to boost product offerings in order to become more competitive.

Part of that, said Bernstock, includes marketing to business, "working with industry to be able to drive the cost down in terms of getting samples of new products that manufacturers or retailers would want consumers to try, and getting them to consumers in a cost-effective way."

USPS faces stiff competition from private delivery companies, such as FedEx and UPS. And the Postal Service projects a $7 billion shortfall for fiscal 2009, which ends Sept. 30.

For more on what your mail-delivery agency is planning, listen to the conversation linked above.