Purchasing stuff online is super convenient, and that explains why online retail is a multi-billion dollar a year market that continues to grow.

But if there's one thing that isn't always convenient about buying online, it's delivery. Depending on how your package is sent and what's being sent, if you're not home, you might miss your package and be forced to wait another day (or two).

Recognizing that those little slips informing shipment recipients that they missed a delivery and will have to wait for their goodies can be really annoying, UPS is trying to innovate by launching a new offering called My Choice.

Starting in October, consumers who sign up for My Choice will be notified by phone, text or email the day prior to a scheduled delivery.

The notification will specify a four-hour window in which the delivery will take place, giving consumers the opportunity to ensure they don't miss their package. It will also enable them to authorize the release of the package with an e-signature or reschedule the delivery entirely.

My Choice also has paid components, as AdAge explains:

For $5, the package can be rerouted to another address or the nearest UPS Store. A $40 annual fee gets consumers all of those benefits, along with a delivery calendar showing the status of deliveries, the option to select a two-hour window and the ability to provide instructions to drivers about where to leave packages.

UPS believes My Choice is a "game-changer", and says shippers think it could be too. While UPS necessarily has to market its new service to consumers directly for it to be successful, it believes shippers will also want to promote it to their customers.

UPS CMO Alan Gershenhorn suggests that My Choice can "help drive sales and deliver a better customer experience" for retailers, and points to one multichannel retailer, QVC, which is already promoting My Choice to its customers.

According to Gershenhorn: 

We've done a lot of analytics with [QVC] to understand how many of their customers get deliveries on the first attempt, and based on that, they're very excited about what this can do for their receivers. 

Needless to say, a delivery made on the first attempt is good for everybody: shipping company, retailer, customer. The shipping company boosts efficiency, the retailer fulfills an order as quickly as possible, and the customer gets what he or she purchased when expected with minimal hassle. Win-win-win.

From this perspective, there's a lot for online retailers to like about My Choice and how it could take some of the occasional pain away from buying online.

The even better news: if My Choice is a hit, you can be sure other shipping companies will launch similar offerings, enabling retailers, through no investment of their own, to improve the 'last mile' of order fulfillment no matter who they're shipping with.

Patricio Robles

Published 16 September, 2011 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (1)

Daniel Clutterbuck

Daniel Clutterbuck, Director/ Co-Founder at Webtise Ltd

Don't DPD do this already?

almost 7 years ago

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