Logistics company UPS has launched a new service that enables UK customers to pick up their parcels from local convenience stores, petrol stations and newsagents rather than waiting in for a delivery.
The new UPS Access Point service will run alongside UPS’ existing delivery service. It currently operates across more than 600 stores, with 1,500 outlets set to join the network by June. Within the next two to three years it aims to have a network of 4,000 stores.
As well as offering a convenient delivery option, the service will also allow retailers to offer click and collect services through their own stores, using the UPS technology rather than investing in their own, while cross-border services enable traders to send parcels to the European countries where UPS already operates a collection network of 6,500 stores through its Kiala subsidiary.
The UK launch of UPS Access Point comes as more people buy goods online, with growth rates of 13-15% predicted for Europe in the next five years. UPS says its research has shown 37% of UK consumers say they would find delivery more convenient if they could choose an alternative delivery point with long opening hours.
UPS is growing the service through Kiala, which it acquired a year ago. Kiala’s network of more than 6,500 retail sites operates in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain. Under UPS ownership, this is expanding into the UK and the aim is to move into Germany later this year.
Joe Mozzali, vice president of strategy at UPS Europe, said: “UPS Access Point in the UK combines Kiala’s powerful technology platform and the integrated transportation network of the world’s largest package delivery company to provide convenient, reliable B2C delivery solutions and the very best customer service.”
He added: “The B2C sector is and will continue to be a powerful growth area. We are committed to offering our customers the solutions they want, whether they are retailers trading over the internet or busy consumers looking for convenient delivery options. UPS Access Point brings UPS’ renowed quality and reliability to a new, cross-border consumer-delivery concept.”
Our view: Delivery is an important point of differentiation for online retailers, and a raft of innovative services has developed in the UK in recent years around making delivery more convenient, from convenience store collection points to locker collection. This move by UPS into a convenience store collection point market pioneered in the UK by CollectPlus makes for more competition in this sector, while also giving the carrier a multichannel approach to delivery. Since this is also the second delivery launch for the online market that we’ve covered this week – DPD unveiled its international service DPD Direct in time for Tuesday’s newsletter – we’ll wait with interest to see what other innovative services emerge in coming months.