retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Fascinating story in USA Today about how UPS and FedEx are trying to grow their bottom line by investing in what are called “adjacent” businesses - enterprises that are not specifically about shipping, but that make shipping easier for their customers.

For example, UPS - which is ahead of FedEx in this area - has a facility that is part of its Louisville, Kentucky, hub where UPS employees assemble and configure Sprint mobile phones prior to shipping them. The move cuts shipping times,reduces Sprint’s warehouse costs by 30 percent, and is part of UPS’s broader strategy of helping clients address supply chain issues. In that same building, USA Today writes, UPS maintains a “freezer that stays at minus 103 degrees fahrenheit. Inside, there is a product from Advanced Biohealing, which is based in La Jolla, Calif. It's a skin-replacement therapy, and UPS cares for it and ships it” because the products is extremely time-sensitive.

UPS officials tell the paper that it has logistics deals with more than 500 companies, and that revenue from these deals is in the $6 billion range, and growing.

As FedEx tries to catch up to the UPS model, USA Today writes, it “has a facility dedicated to maintaining and fixing its own electronic equipment. Now, it's opening it up to fix machines from outside companies.”
KC's View:
his strikes me as interesting, because it points to ways in which retailers can grow their businesses in unorthodox and yet relevant ways. Are there opportunities out there to help customers accomplish things in their lives that retailers are missing ... that they can turn into revenue generators and loyalty engines? I suspect there are. Lots of them. (One example - food retailers that also have cooking schools.)