UPS Loading Delivery Truck

New Saturday ground operations will start this month at UPS. The company previously only offered Saturday operations for air services for an extra fee.

This is the largest time-in-transit improvement by UPS in the company’s 109 year history. UPS expects to have Saturday ground operations fully implemented by the end of 2018.

UPS was testing this service in select areas of Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. Starting this month those areas are expanded and the following 15 metro areas are added.

  • Indianapolis-Carmel, IN MSA
  • St. Louis, MO-IL MSA
  • Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX MSA
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL MSA
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA MSA
  • Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH MSA
  • New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA MSA
  • Syracuse, NY MSA
  • Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA MSA
  • Pittsburgh, PA MSA
  • Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY MSA
  • Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI MSA
  • Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO MSA
  • Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI MSA
  • Knoxville, TN MSA

UPS expects to add 4,700 cities and towns by November 2017 in time for the busy holiday season. They also expect to hire up to 6,000 additional employees to support the Saturday ground service expansion.

Often, ground packages are caught up in up to a 2-day delay when traveling over a weekend. This new Saturday service will benefit many online retailers by reducing delivery times on those packages.

MORE CONVERSIONS AND COMPETITION AT HEART OF SERVICE CHANGE

With this move, UPS takes a direct aim at FedEx’s similar Home Delivery service which offered Saturday delivery to many residential addresses. Unlike FedEx Home Delivery, UPS will operate all 6 days and not skip Mondays for deliveries.

Of course, USPS already offers standard Saturday delivery and with Amazon, they even deliver their packages on Sundays. While Amazon still uses UPS, it may be a declining business for them.

In the UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study UPS recently conducted, online retailers reported that 46% of customers abandon a shopping cart for delivery time reasons. 62% of shoppers select ground delivery as the first choice of delivery.

UPS hopes to attract more businesses from independent online retailers by offering this service enhancement which in turn will allow sellers to better compete with Amazon.

The new offering is seamless to shippers. UPS shipping systems, such as UPS WorldShip® and ups.com, are automatically updated as ZIP codes are added.

UPS did not mention API updates. We suggest you contact your shipping solutions vendor to find out about Saturday ground delivery zip code availability in their systems.

Overall, this is great news for online retailers. Delivery speed is a relevant factor in buyer behavior. And with UPS still being the dominant parcel delivery service in the U.S., this will have immediate benefits for online retailers.

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