Is UPS’s Saturday announcement a sign of deliveries to come?

Discussion
Photo: UPS
Apr 13, 2017

People are using e-commerce more than ever, and shipping companies are trying to keep up with the increased demand for reliable and convenient package delivery. With that in mind, UPS is planning an unprecedented change to its service.

Earlier this month, UPS announced that it would offer package delivery and pickup on Saturdays. The carrier plans to expand the service’s three-city pilot to 15 major metropolitan areas in April and have the new service fully implemented by the end of 2018. UPS expects that the expansion will create more than 6,000 new jobs and does not anticipate needing to invest in additional trucks, buildings or vehicles to manage the extra delivery day.

Receiving packages on weekdays can often be difficult for customers, for example, those in urban areas who live in apartments that lack a safe place to leave a package. If people who work regular weekday business hours are unable to accept packages at their business address, it may be prohibitively difficult to engage in e-commerce at all. Receiving messages stuck to the door about successive delivery attempts can cause severe customer frustration.

The service change is intended to streamline delivery in the supply chain, as well. UPS’s press release noted that having an extra day to ship and receive can result in increased supply chain efficiencies.

The development could also impact staffing at companies, requiring employees to manage and handle elements of the shipping and receiving process on Saturday (if these tasks aren’t automated).

Increasing customer satisfaction and managing volume are not the only factors driving UPS to make changes and pursue innovation. Amazon.com and Google have been making incursions into territory once owned solely by shipping companies.

Launching Saturday delivery is only one of the avenues UPS is exploring to meet increased delivery demand. Last month, the shipping company began piloting a delivery truck that acts as a mobile base for roof-mounted delivery drones. 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Saturday delivery be a worthwhile investment for UPS? Do you expect all major carriers to eventually move to a seven-days-a-week schedule?

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17 Comments on "Is UPS’s Saturday announcement a sign of deliveries to come?"


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Max Goldberg
Guest

My only question is, what took them so long? With e-commerce growing and UPS already owning the facilities and equipment necessary to facilitate weekend deliveries, why not deliver on Saturday? Can Sunday delivery be far behind?

Anne Howe
Guest

Give the shopper what she wants, the way she wants and when she wants. Thanks UPS. We’ve been waiting for you.

Lyle Bunn (Ph.D. Hon)
Guest

The five-day week ended a long time ago and consumer discovery, shopping and fulfillment is now a seven-day process. Why should some processes that serve consumer’s interests have time restrictions? The business of business is 24-7.

Charles Dimov
Guest

Cities continue to grow. More and more people live in an apartment complex or high-rise condominium. For them in-store purchasing or omnichannel are the way to go, because deliveries to their home is a major challenge. So the idea of weekend deliveries will definitely help UPS. It will not solve the problem for all shoppers, but it will help many. Smart move UPS!

Meaghan Brophy
BrainTrust
Meaghan Brophy
Senior Retail Writer
5 years 1 month ago

Saturday and even Sunday deliveries are inevitable. Consumers want them and we’re living in a consumer’s market. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday delivery times aren’t a realistic option for many people.

Tony Orlando
Guest

This is a win-win for UPS in the long run, as they have to do this and Sunday delivery is next. The five-day work week for retailers doing business online will not work, and UPS recognizes that they must jump in or risk losing their huge market share in delivered goods. No looking back or the train will run them over — and they know it.

George Anderson
Staff

We frequently receive items ordered on Amazon on Saturday and Sunday. I know of at least one instance in our household in recent months where an order for an item was placed with Amazon rather than on another site because the delivery could be made on the weekend instead of having to wait until Monday.

Kai Clarke
BrainTrust

Saturday delivery should be standard for all major carriers. The USPS has been doing this for years. Now UPS is announcing this not because of it being a worthwhile investment, but because Amazon and others are demanding that they perform this service or they will go elsewhere (Amazon shipping its own products).

Kenneth Leung
BrainTrust

This is going to be interesting for USPS which has been surviving on package deliveries to cover for losses in mail volume. Lower-cost Saturday delivery was one of the things that kept its differentiation. Now that Amazon is doing its own delivery and UPS is doing Saturday, that puts more pressure on USPS which has been taking losses.

Lee Kent
Guest

Retailers work and sell seven days a week so this step was only logical. It makes perfect sense. And that’s my 2 cents.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest

This is not a surprise since we get many deliveries on Saturdays. So why not make it official like UPS did? Next will be the announcement from FedEx.
This will be good for residential deliveries because of many of the reasons already stated. But will businesses need to staff for Saturday deliveries, or will they just as easily be held until Monday?

Guy Mucklow
Guest
Guy Mucklow
President and Co-Founder, PCA Predict
5 years 1 month ago

As online shopping continues to be the go-to shopping method for customers nationwide, it’s no surprise that UPS is introducing Saturday deliveries. In fact, with e-commerce sales surging at rapid rates, it’s a wonder that weekend deliveries aren’t already the norm for shipping companies like UPS.

The retail space is becoming increasingly crowded, meaning shoppers have endless options when it comes to products, retailers, and shipping methods. As a result, retailers and shipping companies must prioritize the needs and preferences of consumers. As mentioned in the article, many individuals are unable to receive packages on weekdays due to work schedules, apartment buildings lacking secure areas for deliveries, or offices that do not accept personal packages. To keep up with the needs of today’s consumer and remain competitive, retailers and shipping companies must adapt.

If Saturday deliveries are a success for UPS, it will only be a matter of time before all major carriers move to a seven-days-a-week delivery schedule. And why shouldn’t they? Online shopping makes purchasing items a 24/7 option—it’s time deliveries followed suit.

Adrian Weidmann
BrainTrust

We live in a nano-second world and as such shoppers expect immediate gratification. The world has become flat and today’s commerce knows no geography or time zone boundaries or rules. Delivery services (UPS, FedEx, DHL) are all competing aggressively with very thin margins. UPS (and others) will be delivering 365/24/7 in short order. It’s inevitable! I believe UPS and other delivery services will provide at-shelf stocking service — why stop at the loading dock? Brown will be stocking your items at the shelf!

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

I’m quite surprised that it wasn’t offered already … for all of the reasons stated. And yes, I fully expect Sunday will be next. I mean if the Post Office, of all organizations, is already doing it, who can afford not to?

The bigger question is, will Sunday stick? It may turn out that one non-weekday per week is enough, and people who need same day delivery of toothpaste will just have to plan better.

Min-Jee Hwang
Guest

It’s an investment that UPS should have made years ago. Other shipping options have had Saturday deliveries for a while and UPS is finally catching up. In addition to their foray into drone deliveries, it should be interesting to see if they end up on top.

gordon arnold
Guest

UPS is making a decision to grow the business and increase profits. This decision will need very little strategic expansion simply by doing what they do best for customers that need their services on Saturday. The future of expansions is easy to see as in Sunday, 24/7 and world wide.

There is a potential to earn less than the plan calls for if what we read in this discussion is accurate. There will be an increase in vehicle purchases to offset attrition and down time for service. This may be overlooked in the initial stages for less than legitimate reasons. Such a mistake has the potential to increase insurance costs by forced service time increases and larger than planned replacement costs.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust
Ricardo Belmar
Retail Transformation Thought Leader, Advisor, & Strategist
5 years 1 month ago

This is long overdue! Is there any business process left in this age of the consumer that only operates on weekdays? Any shipping carriers that cling to a weekday schedule in the near future will end up losing business and will either be reduced to tiny versions of their former selves or will wake up and move to a 7 day a week schedule. It’s inevitable!

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