Through new partnerships with Michael’s, CVS and Advance Auto, UPS is more than doubling its network of domestic Access Point locations and adding Sunday pickup and delivery next January for business and residential customers as it engages in an arms race with FedEx.
Including drop boxes, FedEx has 62,000 pickup locations in the U.S., compared to 63,000 now for UPS. There are 5,000 UPS stores in North America. Worldwide, UPS now has 40,000 Access Point locations and 38,000 lockers. FedEx announced its own year-round Sunday delivery plans in May.
Last month, FedEx added Dollar General as a pickup location partner, adding 1,500 stores this year with plans to eventually expand it to all 8,000 stores by the end of 2020.
“At Michaels, we are continuously exploring new ways and partners to make the omnichannel shopping experience easier and more convenient for our customers,” said Matthew Rubin, SVP of business development and growth at Michaels in a release. “As we focus our efforts on incorporating innovation into our stores, this latest enhancement will provide our customers with a practical and efficient solution to support their shipping needs.”
UPS will add more than 1,100 Michaels stores to its network; figures were not immediately available for CVS and Advance Auto locations.
At all UPS Access Point locations, customers can have packages shipped directly to a store using the MyChoice App, or drop them off pre-labeled. Up to this point, Access Point locations had all been either UPS stores or local businesses like convenience stores.
UPS is also expanding its MyChoice app-based visibility and tracking program to small business customers, allowing them to redirect packages and get advanced delivery notifications.
Kate Gutmann, Chief Sales and Solutions Officer for UPS, said expanding the Access Point program with the new retail partners puts locations within 5 miles of 90% of the U.S. population.
“Part of our strategy is reaching SMBs as well as consumers,” Gutmann said. “They (retail partners) will see the benefits of walk-through traffic and increased sales. This provides more coverage, ease and convenience.”
Gutmann said Michael’s, CVS and Advance Auto were selected as partners based on their hours of operation and the broad weekend coverage they provided. “It matched well for what we want to do for consumers and for SMBs,” she said.
In January, when UPS begins regular Sunday delivery service, these new retail locations will be available as pickup points, Gutmann said.
“The Access Point network is already a big part of our expanded Saturday options, and Sundays will be added in January,” she said. “Customers can have packages delivered to a CVS on Sunday, for example. This is part of our network collaboration with the U.S. Postal Service and SurePost.”
SurePost is the UPS branded version of the USPS’s final mile service; at FedEx it’s called SmartPost.