Thursday, April 25, 2013

FedEx Delivery Manager goes up against UPS’ My Choice for a bigger slice of B2C packages

As consumers’ options of how to purchase goods have expanded thanks to computers, mobile devices, brick and mortar locations and catalog services, delivery options have changed as well. This shift to multichannel retail sales has resulted in innovative solutions from two of the largest small parcel providers.  For example, in 2011, UPS launched “My Choice” which offers customized home delivery services such as rescheduling a delivery, delivering to an alternative location such as to a neighbor’s home or to an UPS Store and requesting a 2-hour delivery window.

This week FedEx responded to UPS’ My Choice by introducing “FedEx Delivery Manager”. This is a similar service by which FedEx Delivery also allows package recipients to customize home deliveries and provide visibility to deliveries.  The service is available through multiple digital platforms, including a mobile application and mobile web browser.

Both services offer free and premium services. For premium services, fees range from $5.00 to $10.00. In fact, according to FedEx’s fact sheet concerning the service, “Use of some delivery options are available at a nominal fee so customers only pay for the options they want, when they want them. Customers are not locked into a premium-priced membership”. Indeed, UPS’ My Choice offers an annual subscription of $40.00 and as part of that most of the individual fees are waived except for scheduling a 2-hour delivery window ($4.00 fee).

Although it is not known if the US Postal Service is working on a similar solution, it is likely it will face pressure to offer something comparable. The USPS is, however, showing off its innovativeness in other ways by testing its same-day delivery service, Metro Post, with 1-800-Flowers in San Francisco and also trialing a locker service called GoPost in Northern Virginia.

While FedEx and UPS are also testing other ecommerce-related services, their basic ground home delivery services are evolving to meet the consumer’s changing needs. It would not be a surprise to see both FedEx Delivery Manager and UPS My Choice tweaked a bit further to allow for more options and flexibility – perhaps integrating delivery calendars into consumers’ Outlook or Google calendars or maybe delivering to additional alternative locations such as to a locker or convenience store or even a one-hour delivery option for large metropolitan locations? The possibilities are endless.