Deployment and Test of a Retail Digital Communications Network by the United States Postal Service

Working Paper #4


Steven Keith Platt, Platt Retail Institute; Dr. Kamel Jedidi, Columbia University Graduate School of Business; and Margot Myers, United States Postal Service.


Issues surrounding retail digital communication networks (“DCN”) revolve around strategy, deployment, and measurement. Prior research in this area has focused upon these issues, but has been limited in terms of correlating strategy with measurement over extended test duration.

While such prior research has yielded valuable insights, it has been inhibited in terms of the size and scope of the underlying data sets. This Working Paper contributes to the study of retail DCN in various ways. First, it is the most extensive report of a major DCN field test published to-date. Second, it provides intricate knowledge into the testing methodologies applied and the results achieved therefrom.

Third, it demonstrates how various analytic models are integrated and interpreted relative to a stated strategy. Finally, it draws implications from this research for wider retail industry application.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Discussion
    1. Investigative Stage
      1. USPS Background
      2. History of the USPS Digital Communications Network
      3. Administrative Considerations
      4. Test Site Selection
      5. Screen Placement
      6. Content and Content Sequencing
    2. Test Design and Results
      1. Research Objectives
      2. Test Design and Summary Reported Findings
    3. USPS Analytic Modeling
    4. Conclusion
    5. Appendix:
      1. Test Time Line
      2. Sample USPS Content


Digital Retailing Expo 2006, Digital View Inc., IBM, NEC Display Solutions, POPAI, Scala, Symon Targetvision, The Center for Retailing Education and Research at the University of Florida, and The JCPenney Center for Retail Excellence at Southern Methodist University.