United Parcel Service Inc. said Wednesday that it’s launching a service that will allow customers to pick up packages at local businesses such as dry cleaners, convenience stores and grocers rather than doorsteps of homes. The service called “Access Point” is now available in New York and Chicago and caters to urban dwellers prone to package theft from their doorsteps as well as people who work and cannot stay home to sign for a package.
“The folks that live in cities -- if they’re not home and they don’t have a doorman, they can’t get a package. So they browse online and shop in stores,” Alan Gershenhorn, chief commercial officer at UPS, told the Wall Street Journal. “Now they’ll be able to browse online and shop online.”
UPS drivers, when unable to deliver a package to a customer’s residence, will leave a note informing them when they can expect to collect their package from a nearby Access Point location. Consumers will need photo identification or a mobile device with their UPS tracking number to pick up the package and can also drop off pre-labeled and pre-paid packages at the Access Point locations.
UPS says the service will boost e-commerce profitability by reducing the number of delivery stops drivers must make, reducing labor and fuel costs; the company stopped short, however, of estimating the savings.
The company currently has about 300 Access Point locations across New York City and Chicago and is adding more, including self-service lockers for delivery and pickup. All 4,400 UPS Stores nationwide will become pickup locations next year. The Access Point service will expand to cover all major U.S. metropolitan markets by the end of 2015 and, as early as next month, to Poland, Italy, Canada and Mexico, the company said. UPS already has more than 12,000 pickup locations in Europe and hopes to nearly double that number worldwide in 2015, to 20,000, as it expands in the U.S. and Europe.
The Access Point service integrates with the UPS app, My Choice, which allows customers to sign for packages remotely and give drivers detailed instructions about where to leave packages.