Will drop-off points boost online sales?
After completing a successful test at nine locations in Chicago, UPS is expanding its Access Point smart locker package pick-up program to 300 new locations.
The lockers, that look similar to ATMs, are usually outside and accessible 24 hours a day at 7-Eleven locations as well as other independently-owned c-stores. Customers scan their InfoNotice alert or tracking number and their government ID to gain access to the locker holding their package. The process takes less time than getting cash at an ATM, UPS said.
The lockers are needed for the “e-commerce stranded,” or those who live in a residence where front door delivery is not possible, says the company. But the service offers convenience for all. According to the recent UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study, more than half of avid online shoppers — those who make two or more online purchases in a typical three-month time period — are interested in an alternate delivery location with extended hours.
Online retailers can integrate the locker delivery addresses into their web checkout process so consumers can have their packages sent directly to nearby Access Point location. When unable to make a delivery, UPS drivers can leave a notice indicating when and where the package will be available for pickup at a nearby Access Point location.
“For online retailers, providing additional convenient delivery locations is one of the secrets to more shopping cart conversions, greater loyalty and happier customers,” said Kalin Robinson, director of the UPS Access Point locker program, in a statement.
With e-commerce deliveries higher than business-to-business ones, carriers are looking to cut expenses. The Access Point system means drivers can consolidate deliveries into a single stop and save the time and fuel involved making second and third home delivery attempts.
The rollout supplements an existing Access Point program through which UPS pays local merchants a small fee to act as a package pickup location. The carrier has more than 8,000 such Access Points with stores. UPS pays a flat fee for the locker rentals.
Amazon launched its Locker program in 2011 and has opened them in most major U.S. cities.
- UPS Access Point Locker Program Expanded To Help Online Retailers Increase Sales – United Parcel Service
- UPS expanding package-pickup locker program – Chicago Tribune
- UPS Adds Locker Locations for Shipment Pickups – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)
- UPS expanding locker pickup to 300 new locations – Retail Dive
- Are shipping companies ready for Christmas? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see drop-off points playing a large role in reducing the costs of online shipping? Do customers, online retailers or the shipping carriers benefit most from local drop-off points?