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    UPS Package Deliveries Set to Increase for Holidays by 5.7%

    During this holiday season, UPS already is showing signs that it will have an increase in sales from this time last year. Internet Retailer reported that end-of-the-year sales are forecasted to increase for UPS between Thanksgiving and December 31. Kathleen Gutmann, senior vice president of worldwide sales and solutions, said during a call on UPS’s third quarter earnings, “The dramatic growth of online shopping and subsequent returns is expected to lift UPS package levels to a record high during this upcoming holiday period. Between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve 2016, there are two additional operating days and we expect to complete over 700 million deliveries worldwide, about 100 million more than last year.”

    For this year's third quarter, the carrier's US average daily package volume increased 5.7% to 15.364 million packages from 14.540 million during the same time in 2015. International package volume also went up by 7.5% to 2.788 million from 2.593 million in 2015. Some other third quarter numbers for UPS included:

    • Total revenue rose 4.9% to $14.928 billion from $14.237 billion in the third quarter of 2015.
    • U.S. domestic revenue increased 4.8% to $9.289 billion from $8.860 billion.
    • U.S. ground shipment revenue grew 4.8% to $6.616 billion from $6.315 billion.
    • Next Day Air revenue was up 2.6% to $1.706 billion from $1.662 billion.
    • International revenue increased 2.2% to $3.024 billion from $2.959 billion.
    • Net income increased 1.0% to $1.270 billion from $1.257 billion.

    Also, UPS' My Choice program will be used to help manage the expected holiday volume surges. My Choice gives consumers who sign up the option to choose the delivery location of their package, whether to their home or an alternate delivery site, including a UPS Access Point location. The program currently has 30 million members worldwide, compared with 20 million last year. The growth shows that customers like options, and UPS has about 8,000 Access Point locations in the US, including UPS stores, Access Point “smart" lockers, in addition to sites like convenience stores and dry cleaners.

    Chief financial officer Richard Peretz commented on UPS business-to-business sales. He stated, “It's the best growth we've had there in five quarters. Returns growth in e-commerce is also very strong. It's growing in the mid-teens.” Despite lower industrial production, business-to-business grew roughly 2% primarily due to online retail returns. The question will be will UPS be able to keep pace with deliveries and returns in a timely manner.

    Returns are not something that shoppers enjoy, nor do retailers like it either. However, with the evolving of warehousing being sourced from actual physical stores instead of traditional warehousing, correcting error shipments can be easily done with Same-Day Delivery. This is just one advantage of the service, which retailers are partnering with a Same-Day Courier like A-1 Express that can quickly pick up and deliver product from nearby stores. The Miami Courier supplies same-day delivery to hundreds of well-known retailers and companies nationwide.

    Online retail is not only driving package increases for UPS, but also same-day delivery. During the holiday season, retailers like Amazon, Google, Macy's, Best Buy, Whole Foods, and more are all gearing up to provide a convenient delivery option that shoppers feel is convenient and at low cost.

    Reference: 10.27.16, Internet Retailer, Tracy Maple, UPS expects holiday package volume to grow more than 16%


    Google Express Expands to 13 More States

    Google isn't just sitting by and allowing Amazon to expand Prime nationwide without implementing a Same-Day Delivery program of its' own. Now, Google has announced that it is going to expand too, right before the holiday shopping season begins.

    USA Today recently reported Google Express is now available in 13 more states, as it seeks to gain momentum and compete on a more aggressive scale with Amazon. The new states will include Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Utah, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Wyoming and Washington. The Midwestern states of Montana and Wyoming aren't two of the most popular states that same-day delivery is heavily established in. Yet, with the type of retail partners that Google has, these big name retailers have store locations in practically every state. As the holiday season approaches, sales will be high and Google Express may be profitable.

    Google Express General Manager Brian Elliott said in an interview with The Tennessean, “We think of ourselves as a technology platform because that’s what we’re really good at. We’re trying to build a platform that lots of merchants can participate in.” Google partners include retail leaders like Costco, Whole Foods Market, Kohl’s, PetSmart, Road Runner Sports, Sur La Table, Fry’s, Walgreens, L’Occitane, Payless ShoeSource and Guitar Center. All of these retailers have taken on the strategy of creating effective omnichannels to bridge the gap between e-commerce and physical store sales. In today's business climate, this emerging trend could be what helps store retailers, especially malls, actually survive and thrive.

    Elliott also talked about in the article how Google Express is beneficial to the very customers that shop at these stores. He stated, “At Google Express, our job is to make people’s lives easier. What we really are trying to do here is make it easier to shop from merchants you love”. Online retail is projected to grow $500 billion by 2018 and there is a reason why. Customers are comfortable with shopping online and enjoy the convenience of being able to buy online from anywhere. Coupled with same-day delivery, online retail is and will continue to exceed growth expectations.

    Just in October alone, Google has 14 states where their express service is available. Earlier this month, Google Express was launched in New York, a key big city for holiday shopping. Now, roughly 70 million people in all of these states, including the tri-state areas, and Google appears to picking up the pace to challenge Amazon at its' own game.

    This shows that same-day delivery is no longer a trend, but a viable option to compete online. Retailers can partner with Same-Day Courier like A-1 Express that can get your store items to your customer's front door in no time. From your retail store or business location, the Chicago Courier can pick up and deliver nationwide, creating the same-day delivery solution that you're looking for. Google has expanded this month, and the question will be will the e-retail leader take its' program into other states as well.

    Reference: 10.25.16, USA Today, Lizzy Alfs and Brad Harper, Google Express adds delivery service to 13 more states


    Non-Store Holiday Sales Expected to Go Up This Year

    In several weeks, the holiday shopping season will begin and many retailers probably can't wait until it arrives. The holiday shopping season is a time to make-up for loss revenue and low sales during prior quarters, as retailers are hopeful for big returns this year. The latest forecasts show indeed retailers have big reasons to be excited because the numbers are expected to be good, namely for online sales.

    The National Retail Federation (NRF) forecasts that non-store sales will go up 7-10% from last year, equating to about $117 billion for the 2016 holiday season of November and December. Internet Retailer recently discussed how various forecasts like these are beginning to be released for this holiday season and non-store sales. They are projecting online growth to double or quadruple the rate of total sales. Non-store sales were described as primarily online sales via phone and catalog sales. The NRF projected last year's online sales would increase by 6-8% for last year's holiday season, yet online holiday sales reaching 9% instead. Retailers hope shopping results we be higher than projected this year as well.

    "All of the fundamentals are in a good place, giving strength to consumers and leading us to believe that this will be a very positive holiday season,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay stated in the article, optimistic about this year's sales. He went on to say, “This year hasn’t been perfect, starting with a long summer and unseasonably warm fall, but our forecast reflects the very realistic steady momentum of the economy and industry expectations.” Another driving of the momentum of shopping online is that customers have become more comfortable with purchasing over the web and having those items delivered. Shoppers have even begun to enjoy fast delivery services like Same-Day Delivery from Amazon, Google, Macy's, BestBuy, and more.

    Rod Sides, Deloitte LLP vice chairman and retail & distribution sector leader, discussed in the article the company's own forecasts about this year's holiday online sales. He stated, “The trend to watch is the way that online, mobile and store channels influence each other. Large e e-commerce players and digital platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest are shaping what people think a great shopping experience is—a fast, highly-curated assortment with access to visuals, information and buying sources. Since these bigger platforms are more connected to the customer than the tradition retailer, it is important that they are part of retailers’ digital marketing campaigns this holiday season”.

    Sides also said, “It’s likely to be the small and midsized retailers that focus on niche products and experiences. This group has been collectively stealing share from large, traditional retailers to the tune of $200 billion in annual sales over the last five years. The retailers that compete on differentiated products and experiences should be better positioned to outperform those who try to compete on low-price, value and convenience, or continue to rely on conventional sales events and promotions”.

    Indeed, the retailers that move beyond conventional products, will not attract the growing market of online shoppers, especially millennials they want an experience that is easy and can be done utilizing tech devices also. Same-day delivery continues to be service product that more and more customers like because of cost, time saving and convenience. A Same-Day Courier like A-1 Express can be a viable partner that retailers can turn to for last-mile deliveries for the holidays. The Philadelphia Courier can implement same-day delivery in no time, as retailers seek to seize all the online sales to come.

    Reference: 10.4.16, www.internetretailer, Tracy Maple, Online holiday sales head for double-digit growth


    No More Upfront Fee For Amazon Fresh Same-Day Delivery

    There are a number of retailers that would like to be ahead of Amazon. Yet, when the e-retailer shows it's moving on from not only expanding Same-Day Delivery with online products to same-day groceries AmazonFresh also, it's clear that the momentum of Amazon is dominating and just too hard to slow down.

    The latest move from Amazon to expand AmazonFresh is not to the service itself, but the pricing model. Recode.com recently reported how Amazon is eliminating AmazonFresh upfront costs for members in an effort to attract shoppers to using it. The service use to be $299 per year, yet now will be $14.99 per month for existing Prime members only. This equates to $179 annually, which is a $120 difference from the $299 AmazonFresh yearly subscription. When a Prime members add in their $99 annual fee, their overall annual cost is only $279 annually with both services, instead of the $299 for just AmazonFresh. This is an impressive selling point for loyal Prime members that felt the upfront costs made AmazonFresh a little steep.

    Subscription programs are being piloted by other big name retailers to compete with Amazon, in addition to a way to build customer loyalty online. Wal-Mart is rolled out testing for its' new ShippingPass service in July, offering free shipping with two-day delivery with a low annual $49 fee. This low-cost fee significantly lower than Amazon's, being half the cost and appears to be designed to attract shoppers with market entry pricing for the new program. Customers can go to WalMart.com and get a variety of products, including clothing, electronics, health products, and more. The online items with the ShippingPass logo next to them are eligible for the service.

    Keith Anderson, vice president of e-commerce analytics startup company Profitero, commented on the upfront fee change. He stated, “This positions Fresh much more favorably. An incremental, annual $199, paid up front, was unprecedented and a huge hurdle for mainstream households to commit to, even if Prime members skew to affluence.” Having an upfront fee to get groceries just may not be sustainable for Prime members and regular shoppers, which has an adverse effect on the purpose of a subscription program. Valued-added services, coupled with low cost and convenience is what not only attracts online customers, but keeps them.

    Anderson also commented on what the new fee structure means for Amazon. "[T]he change in fee structure could be a sign that Fresh is stabilizing and poised for more aggressive expansion. This is supported by how prominently the new fee is being promoted on Amazon's homepage in markets where Fresh is available.” When a huge cut in fees is implemented like Amazon has done, it affirms that there will be a strong customer base and volume for growth, especially with free same-day delivery already in place in major cities nationwide. It's only a matter of time that AmazonFresh will be close behind.

    As the holiday season approaches, other grocery chains are taking their same-day grocery service to another level, namely Whole Foods partnering with Google to expand. Any retailer seeking to grow online with same-day delivery, needs to have a optimal and fast order fulfillment system in place to get deliveries done on time. A Same-Day Courier like A-1 Express can develop a sound same-day delivery system within major US cities, bridging store and online products. The Orlando Courier is a partner with the type of courier expertise retailers like Wal-Mart could utilize to pick up and delivery groceries from local stores nationwide.

    Reference: 10.7.16, www.recode.net, Jason Del Rey, Amazon finally just proved it’s very serious about grocery delivery


    Google Launches Same-Day Delivery in New York

    Amazon may have a great deal of online market share, but Google isn't going away. The e-retailer is showing that it has a strategy of it's own to get more customers to shop via Google Express, especially as the holiday season approaches. Google is taking its' delivery program to the big apple--New York.

    Google has announced that Google Express will be launched in New York, partnering with big name retailers, including Costco, Kohl's, Whole Foods, and PetSmart. Nearly 70 million people in over a dozen states nationwide, including the tri-state areas, will now be able to order online from their mobile devices to have Google Express provide Same-Day Delivery right to their door step. Technology is driving the ingenuity being created by retailers, enabling seamless omnichannels between web and storefront. Shoppers search often online for discounts and more, and when the right deals come along, they make their purchase. With technology, now shoppers can utilize their smartphone and buy virtually from wherever they are.

    It makes a difference when a large grocery chain like Whole Foods can not only buy and sell in-store, but they can offer the value-added service of bringing their groceries conveniently to the homes of shoppers. Online shopping expert Michelle Madhok talked about the same-day service, stating that Google Express has "...a number of items you can order via Google and Google Express and have it delivered in under an hour. Depending on the item, some will take a little longer, but you can click 'get this today".

    Shoppers will be able to pay either a per-order fee or an annual fee for the service. Like Amazon, Google Express offers a subscription program, which members will pay $95 a year, versus Amazon Prime at $99. The subscription fee helps with the overall costs involved with massive programs such as these, and for both retailers and shoppers, it appears to be well worth it. Wal-Mart is currently testing its' pilot program, ShippingPass, with an annual membership fee of only $49 with the option of free next-day delivery, as well as those that have paid their fee will receive a free additional month as a promotional tool. Wal-Mart.com will have a logo next to the products in which the ShippingPass service can be utilized.

    Google may be launching in New York, yet it has its' work cut out with how Amazon continues to expand same-day delivery at a rapid pace. Amazon has free same-day delivery in a total of 27 major US cities throughout the US, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle-Tacoma, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Diego, Indianapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Boston, Tampa Bay, Baltimore,Washington DC, Chicago, Orlando, Atlanta, Nashville, Raleigh, Richmond, Tucson, Cincinnati, and more. This week, Amazon announced its' expansion into Canada, launching free same-day delivery in Toronto and Vancouver. At this rate, Amazon will be delivering within hours all over North America.

    Google and physical store retailers both have same idea, which is to ship their store items to customers and use same-day delivery to do it. A Same-Day Courier like A-1 Express is who retailers and other companies can partner with to launch same-day delivery programs to grow their business online. The Portland Courier has to courier expertise and technology to quickly implement last-mile deliveries for online order fulfillment.

    Reference: 9.28.16, Fox 5 New York, Jennifer Lahmers, Google Express delivery service debuts in New York