The United States Postal Service (USPS) recently unveiled their intention to deliver not just five, not six, but seven days a week during the 2014 holiday season. This is a strategic move designed to outpace competition between other national package delivery companies, FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS).
USPS’s seven day a week deliveries will be available in major cities starting this week as the holiday gift-giving season ramps up. The Postal Service’s Sunday holiday delivery game plan will enable them to capitalize on the growth of e-commerce, a consumer trend that spikes incredibly during November and December every year. USPS will even deliver on Christmas Day (a Thursday this year) to get packages to their destinations on time.
The holidays are notorious for the dramatic influx in orders, shipments and delivery of packages. USPS estimates that it will handle up to 470 million packages, which is 12 percent more than last year. This season, USPS lowered some of its prices for businesses and frequent shippers, while both FedEx and UPS announced price increases beginning in late December.
FedEx’s SmartPost service (a collaboration with the USPS) offers special pricing on low-weight shipments and promises efficient deliveries to residential locations in the U.S. According to FedEx, SmartPost is a solution for online retailers and catalogers who need a cost-effective system to transport packages, weighing under 70 pounds, to customers. FedEx utilizes USPS drivers to deliver SmartPost packages the last mile to their destinations. So, with the USPS’s move to Sunday delivery in major cities, FedEx’s SmartPost service will also benefit.
USPS believes that their seven day a week delivery plan will be their greatest competitive asset this holiday season. In addition to adding an extra day of delivering packages, consumers are likely to appreciate having the option of Sunday deliveries for their parcels. It will be interesting to see if FedEx and UPS will follow suit and begin to offer Sunday deliveries themselves to parry the USPS’s move to do this. If the customer is always right and prefers more frequent deliveries, then it would seem like six or seven day a week deliveries might become a standard in the future.