UPS Talks About its New Saturday Ground Pickup, Delivery

UPS recently announced it was adding Saturday pickup and delivery for its ground division, initially in 15 markets and expanding to 4,700 U.S. cities and towns by the busy holiday season, and to 5,800 locations next year.

This makes UPS more competitive with rival FedEx – which offers ground delivery on Saturday – and the U.S. Postal Service, with its Saturday and Sunday deliveries, allowing orders fulfilled on Saturday to arrive on Monday. Deliveries to residences are expected to account for more than half of UPS’s total by 2019.

[Related content: The USPS Ups Its Ecommerce Parcel Game]

Multichannel Merchant asked Jerome Roberts, vice president of marketing for UPS, about the new service offering and its implications.

MCM: What was the business rationale for doing starting Saturday operations?

Roberts: Ecommerce is a 24×7 operation and as it continues to expand, our customers are changing the way they do business. With order-to-delivery times continuing to shrink, UPS’s Saturday operations provides the choice, control and convenience customers want.

The addition of another operating day allows customers across multiple industries from healthcare to retail to ship and receive six days a week, providing an opportunity to grow revenue, turn inventory faster, utilize space more efficiently, and increase productivity.

MCM: What is the impact of Saturday ground service on UPS in terms of network, infrastructure, labor, costs, etc.?

Roberts: More than 6,000 new UPS jobs expected when operations are fully implemented by the end of 2018. UPS is launching Saturday ground operations with no additional investment in buildings, vehicles or trucks. The addition of another ground operations day more efficiently utilizes our existing delivery network and offers customers an even faster ground delivery solution.

MCM: What are the benefits for retail and ecommerce customers?

Roberts: In the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study, retailers report that 46% of customers abandon a shopping cart for reasons that include the shipping time taking too long, and 62% of shoppers select ground delivery.

With Saturday operations, businesses stand to benefit from fewer lost sales due to abandoned online shopping carts, enhanced ship-from-store options and fewer items being out of stock. Saturday ground pickups will enable online retail shippers utilizing a ship-from-store strategy to reach a majority of the U.S. population for Monday delivery.

MCM: How does it make UPS more competitive in terms of overall service offerings?

Roberts: With expanded Saturday operations, ground packages picked up on Saturday can be delivered to customers on Monday, one day earlier. Commercial and residential customers can receive ground deliveries on Saturday, two days earlier. UPS now offers a full range of transportation options covering six days a week, expanding customer choice and flexibility.

MCM: How does it increase your efficiency?

Roberts: Operating six days a week leverages our fixed assets, improving asset utilization and allowing UPS to spread volume throughout the week and offers customers an even faster ground delivery solution.

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