Is Saturday Delivery Making a Comeback?

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Australia Post just announced that it will expand to 6 day delivery starting in the 4th quarter of this year.  However, Australia Post’s actions should not provide any hope for those in the United States trying to save Saturday delivery as Australia Post’s actions are limited to parcel delivery. (See Australia Post to deliver parcels on weekends as trading hours extended) The move to expand parcel delivery to Saturday was announced at the same time Australia Post announced that it would expand retail hours at its corporate offices to Saturdays as well.   These actions both provide Australia Post with the ability to handle its growing parcel business with a minimal [...] Read more »

Is the Growth of Parcel Delivery Accelerating?

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The post, Growing USPS, UPS  and FedEx Volume Is Not Just from E-commerce, used an exponential trend-line to illustrate the rapid growth in the share of deliverable retail sales that are delivered.   However, reports from retailers about the relatively recent growth of their e-commerce business raised questions about the possibility that the shift toward delivered retail sales may be accelerating.  To test this hypothesis, I plotted two exponential trend lines.  One using data from 1999 through 2007 and a second .   using the data from 2008 – 2012 The plot of the two trend lines can be seen in the following chart.   As was expected the trend for the 2008-2012 data is growing [...] Read more »

Growing USPS, UPS and FedEx Volume Is Not Just from E-commerce

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The Courier Express and Postal Observer has calculated that the share of retail sales that are delivered direct to consumers in May hit 21.3% of all deliverable retail sales.   This figure is based on the latest release of the Census Bureau’s monthly retail sales report released on July 16th.   Over the first five months sales requiring delivery grew by 16.3% over year ago levels. Current trends indicate that the share of deliverable retail sales that the Postal Service, FedEx, United Parcel Service and regional carriers deliver will hit at least 24% by January of next year by the end of the decade one-third or more of retail spending of [...] Read more »

The Future of Parcel Delivery: One Hour Delivery Windows

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Making the business-to-consumer e-commerce market work requires making the delivery experience better and less expensive than it is now.  The biggest problem couriers are working to solve is missed deliveries that require a second or third delivery attempt or pick-up from a depot once a missed delivery notice goes out. Missed delivies raise shipping costs and make buying online less convienient. In the United States, both FedEx and UPS allow shippers to send parcels to retail locations rather than have them sent to their home address.   The Postal Service has just started a test of GoPost parcel lockers that will offer customers a 24-7 option for parcel pick-up near their home.  However, many if not most [...] Read more »

UPS Conference Call Suggests USPS Should Accelerate gopost Deployment

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In its conference call, United Parcel Service (UPS) repeatedly touted the success of its UPS My Choice program. The UPS My Choice program has two features that are similar to what the Postal Service’s gopost parcel lockers will likely offer. They provide customer notification of delivery and provide delivery to a location with convenient hours when the recipient cannot be at home to accept receipt of their parcels. The UPS My Choice differs from what gopost will offer in that having parcels delivered to a UPS store requires either a $5 per package or $40 annual fee while gopost will more than likely be a free service. UPS has offered UPS [...] Read more »

A Close Up Look at gopost

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The gopost parcel lockers appear all but ready for live customer tests. Viewing one in person clearly showed to me how a customer thinking of using a gopost would interact and how it would work for both able and disabled individualsm, as well as adults of a full range of heights. What a Customer First Sees A customer interested in using gopost will have no trouble finding it.  The bright red and blue colors make it stand out, just like Redbox and Blockbuster kiosks do.    The use of color focuses the consumers attention right where they have to go, the center console. Given that it is both bright red and stands out a [...] Read more »

gopost Nearly Ready To Go Live

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Since December 6, the Postal Service has installed six gopost parcel lockers in Northern Virginia and tested both the hardware and software.   Now the Postal Service has quietly launched the gopost web page in anticipation of the formal public introduction in mid-January.  Given the interest in gopost among the readers of this blog, I took advantage of light Northern Virginia traffic on Christmas to visit all six sites.   These sites illustrated the breadth of possible installations the Postal Service may use and how these parcel lockers will integrate with the Postal Service’s on-line and, possibly, its mobile presence.  [For an in depth look at a gopost parcel locker see: A Close Up Look at [...] Read more »

Postal Service Developing an Innovative Parcel Service With Walmart

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In an article on WalMart’s challenges in competing with Amazon.com, Advertising Age reports that the Postal Service is currently working with WalMart to deliver on-line purchases in rural areas.  The pilot program fills orders to rural Nevada from the stock of a Nevada Walmart with the Postal Service performing the delivery. The pilot program illustrates one way that WalMart is trying to integrate its brick-and-mortar and Internet based sales strategy.   The pilot program is designed to serve rural customers that find WalMart’s in-store pick-up option inconvenient because the store is 20 or more miles from where they live.  For these customers, WalMart fills the order at a Walmart store close to the [...] Read more »

The Futue of Retail Is Delivery – Sears and K-Mart

Today Sears announced its first quarter outlook.   It’s announcement illustrated that retailers that rely on brick-and-mortar sales are in trouble. The key figures: Same store brick-and-mortar sales – down 4.1% Internet sold and delivered sales – up 22.4% Overall US sales – down 3.6% The impact of internet sales suggests that Sears gets 98% of its U.S. sales in retail stores.  Sears is nearly a pure brick-and-mortar retailer.  Unless it can improve its competitive position on the web and change its brick-and-mortar strategy to complement in-person sales strengths, it will have a real challenge to return to sales growth. Sears’s problems provides an example why companies that sell exclusively on [...] Read more »

The Return of the "Catalog" Retailer

The February employment numbers showed a growing private sector economy in every sector except retail.   Retail jobs dropped by 8,100.     Retail jobs can grow only to the extent that sales at brick and mortar outlets are growing.  The decline in retail jobs reflects the shift from brick-and-mortar to online retail sales.  In December 2010, online-and catalog merchant sales recorded by the Bureau of the Census grew by 20% over 2009 while retail sales at brick and mortar focused retailed grew by 3.2% in the same period.   In February, 2011, American Banking and Market News reported that online retail sales grew by 13.2%, over three times the 3.8% the growth rate of retail [...] Read more »