This week UPS revealed it had been operating a pilot program to enable drivers to deliver packages when residents are not home.
The test follows similar programs both Amazon and Walmart announced last year to provide customers the choice to have deliveries placed inside their home or apartment.
However, unlike the services Amazon and Walmart offer, UPS has taken a more conservative approach to this delivery option.
In cooperation with Latch smart access devices UPS is testing a program that enables in-building deliveries to multi-unit homes in New York City, providing increased security and convenience for residents who are not at home to receive packages.
Latch’s smart access devices enable UPS drivers to provide more reliable customer service and complete more deliveries on the first attempt.
UPS began preliminary tests in Manhattan earlier this year and has now expanded to Brooklyn.
Eventually, UPS may offer the service in markets throughout the U.S. together with smartaccess partner Latch.
“The use of smart access devices on doors of apartment and condominium buildings is a big step forward for the package delivery business. It can be difficult to securely deliver packages in high-density, multi-family urban residences, especially when people are not at home.”
Jerome Roberts, UPS vice president of global product innovation
Roberts further explained that smart access devices give UPS a keyless way to deliver packages to buildings and leave packages safely in lobbies or building package rooms.
For customers, it gives them the peace of mind that their package will be waiting for them when they get home.
How It Works
A UPS driver taking packages to a Latch-enabled building receives a unique credential on a handheld UPS® DIAD (Delivery Information Acquisition Device).
The credential works only for a specific building receiving deliveries.
Any time a driver uses a credential to enter a building, Latch records the entry digitally to create an audit trail that identifies the user and the time of access, establishing a secure record of the transaction.
Latch’s smart access system lets residents and others use smartphones to unlock doors throughout a building, including at the main entrance.
An embedded wide-angle camera within each device captures a visual record of every interaction by a non-resident that authorized users can monitor from the Latch mobile app.
UPS, however, is using Latch systems only to enter buildings, not individual apartments.
Residents can use Latch to enter the building and to manage guest access. To manage deliveries, they use the UPS My Choice mobile app or website.
The potential market for smart access devices used in this way is enormous and growing. There are currently about 20 million multi-family residential units in the United States, with about 350,000 added each year via new construction, Latch says.
“We believe that smart access can fundamentally change the way people live in urban environments. Enabling deliveries with UPS is one of the most significant parts of that evolution.”
Luke Schoenfelder, Latch CEO
Other UPS innovations that provide delivery options for consumers to manage their deliveries include the free UPS My Choice® service, which gives consumers more control over their residential deliveries.
UPS Access Point® locations are a related offering. These are convenient retailers such as neighborhood grocery stores, dry cleaners and The UPS Store® locations, which serve as alternative delivery points for consumers who cannot be home to receive packages.
Keeping UP With Competitive Environment
The pilot program shows that UPS is realizing that Amazon and other delivery services that may offer in-home deliveries bring a new challenge to eCommerce shipping.
Amazon is clearly in the early stages of building out a nationwide network of owner operated delivery routes, similar to how FedEx Ground operates.
Walmart’s New York City delivery company Parcel last year in a bid to provide better delivery options to the NYC area.
READ MORE: Walmart Buys Delivery Company Parcel
Target also acquired logistics company Grand Junction to help them offer local delivery services to their customers.
And DHL had effectively reentered the ground and local delivery market with DHL Parcel Metro
All of these new entries are in addition to competition by FedEx and USPS, which are both expanding operations to meet the needs of a connected shopping experiences consumers increasingly use over shopping at local stores.
UPS is smart to think ahead and how it can provide more options for its customers to receive packages. It also means that small businesses will eventually be able to use UPS to offer delivery services that may only be available right now from Amazon and Walmart.
What do you think about UPS testing the in-home or in-building delivery service? Let us know in the comments section down below or over on our Facebook Group.