— -- Nobody home, no problem. That's what UPS is saying as part of a new service that delivers packages to your neighboring pharmacy or other local business if you're not home.
But will customers view the service as a convenience or pain?
The service is called UPS Access Point and it's a solution UPS devised for people who find it difficult to receive packages at home. Introduced last year in Chicago and New York, the program has expanded to 100 cities in the U.S., including Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and St. Louis. If UPS can't make a delivery at the residence, drivers will leave a note indicating when and where the package will be available for pickup at a UPS Access Point location, where they can retrieve it with a photo I.D.
UPS is framing it as a win-win for customers and the company alike. Delivering to a local store prevents a trip to a potentially far away UPS customer service center and it saves UPS drivers the cost and time of trying to deliver a package numerous times.
UPS has joined forces with local dry cleaners, delicatessens and grocery stores.
David Ross, transportation analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, said he expects most customers will like the new program, and believes the negative comments on social media likely represent an insignificant number of total users. UPS delivers more than 14 million packages a day, he notes.
“While U.S. consumers aren’t as used to picking up packages at third-party locations, if UPS can get the package closer to their home (rather than the local UPS service center), it will ultimately save the customer time and UPS money,” Ross said.
He adds that many e-tailers are already allowing customers the option of getting their packages delivered at a retail location.
Customers can use their online UPS My Choice account to reroute their deliveries to one of the locations or choose to have all their deliveries sent to that location. There is no fee for this service.
But as social media testimonies claim, some alleged customers aren't happy when their packages are re-routed unexpectedly.
UPS says this is a service that customers have been asking for, at least according to a survey the company conducted this year. The 2015 UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper survey found that 33 percent of U.S. online shoppers said they want their packages sent to locations other than their home, compared to 26 percent last year.
The UPS My Choice and UPS Access Point combined service is available in other countries as well, including Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.