I’ll try to keep this post brief or see if I can sketch it out in bullet-points.
My Current Situation
Like many people:
- I live in an apartment
- I work during the day
- I often work different or longer hours than standard business hours
- i.e. before 9am and after 6pm)
- My work often requires my physical presence / prevents me from leaving to get a package
The Beef I Have With Package Carriers
- They force you to sign for packages.
- Sometimes, after you sign, they say they still can’t deliver.
- All apartments are considered unsafe by default it seems.
- Carriers don’t trust your authorization to drop the package, even when expressly written and signed.
- Carriers don’t stagger their delivery times
- i.e. if they try before 10:30am on Monday, they’ll try before then on Tuesday and Wednesday too.
The Business Problem
This isn’t necessarily all the carrier’s fault; they have things they need to abide by as well.
The business problem, as I see it, involves the following:
- Carriers have SLAs with their shipping partners (guaranteed dates/times of delivery, etc.). This can be very helpful sometimes (i.e. every package will arrive next day by 10:30). However, if the customer is not available at that time, the SLA can actually hamper delivery.
- Carriers have a responsibility for goods (so they don’t want to leave them in “dangerous” areas)
- Customers need to pick up packages in a way that works with their schedule
How I Think They Could Fix it
I think that package carriers are missing an important opportunity here – the ability to partner with other businesses to help customers receive their package.
Let’s think about a scenario like this:
- Customers can specify an intermediary business for delivery. Think national chain businesses that are open outside of 9-5 hours. Lots of restaurants (McDonalds, Subway), box stores (Walmart, Costco, etc.), and grocery stores (Giant, Acme) fall into this category.
- Customers either could pay a fee to use this intermediary or the carrier could offer it as an option, and could select the intermediary. This is especially of benefit if a customer wants to group purchases, e.g. “I’ll pick up my package and get groceries!”
- Businesses create space for a holding area for packages and accept the responsibility of an intermediate carrier (i.e. responsible for lost/damaged packages, etc.). Businesses will protect this because it’s linked to their business reputation and customers chose them for a reason. They have a stake in quality.
- Carriers drop off a consolidated shipment according to their SLAs.
Benefits to All Parties
- Businesses receive some cash (either from carriers or from the fee to hold the package there)
- But more importantly, businesses also receive a chance at customer purchases while they’re there. Impulse buys, combining purchasing ideas, etc. For example, if I could pick up a package and my groceries from Whole Foods and not at giant, guess who’s getting my grocery dollars.
- Stronger relationship with a national carrier driving business to the store.
- Less logistical concerns – they drop the packages off at businesses, businesses handle from there.
- Could be a good corporate partnership – think of a store devoting some space to a UPS kiosk, for example. Branding in visible places.
- Could actually save money – less trucks, less driving, less re-delivering packages, less info notice slips, and most importantly, less logistical overhead in returning to sender.
- Stronger relationship with stores – customers more likely to choose you if you offer shipment to businesses they frequent.
- Pick up packages when it’s convenient to do so.
- Huge convenience gain; knock errands out in one shot.
- Know that your package will be delivered (businesses are open + they have an agreement)
- You’re notified when a shipment is delivered, so you know you can pick it up.
- Knowing the business will be open outside of standard 9-5 business hours; you don’t have to be frustrated simply because you have a job, and you don’t have to negotiate a break to sit and wait for a package.
What do you think?
So, could this ever work? What would you change about it? Sound off in the comments; I’d love to discuss!