Among the latest findings from the second UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper Global Study is that alternate delivery locations help retailers increase customer satisfaction. Asia leads all markets with 45% of respondents indicating they prefer to have their online orders delivered to locations other than their home. When they are unavailable to sign for a package, 33% said they want their items shipped to a local retail location authorized to hold packages for pickup at their convenience.
This is exactly what UPS has been working on in Europe, the US and now Asia. Through its UPS Access Point service, customers can pick up parcels at alternative locations throughout Europe and UPS has now begun extending the service into the US.
This same concept is now available in Asia. In December 2014, it was announced that UPS and 7-Eleven had reached an agreement in which 20 7-Eleven outlets at Shell petrol stations across Singapore will serve as alternative delivery locations for UPS packages.
But UPS is certainly not alone in this alternative delivery location service. One Australian company, Parcel Point, has created a network of 1,500 brick and mortar stores nation-wide in Australia to serve as alternative delivery locations for customers that order goods online. It also licenses its technology solutions to omni-channel retailers enabling them to offer click-to-collect services in their stores as well as returns management. In addition, the company has established strong carrier partnerships with TNT, Toll, Couriers Please, Fastway Couriers and SEKO.
Along with these locations, lockers have been embraced as well. Australia Post has set up a network of lockers and Singapore Post’s locker network via its POPStation service.
As noted in UPS’ study, 33% indicated they want their items shipped to a local retail location for pickup. This is a relatively low response percentage and leads one to wonder if there is an alternative delivery model. Another Australian start-up, Shippit, apparently thinks so. Shippit’s IT is integrated with online retailers and courier companies and enables users to pick a three hour delivery time slot between 7am and 10pm. Buyers can track their purchase in real time through a mobile app and have the ability to reschedule or reroute the delivery up to an hour before its arrival. It is also developing a method to allow its users to change the delivery destination.
Regardless, UPS’s Pulse of the Online Shopper Global Study cites flexibility as the key to success whether it’s the multi-channel shopping experience, delivery and payment options or handling returns, consumers and retailers want choices.