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The Wall Street Journal reports that United Parcel Service (UPS) will begin making Sunday deliveries next year, following a similar move by FedEx, a reflection of the expanding demands and opportunities created by an e-commerce economy.

UPS has been following a six-day-a-week delivery schedule, the story says. In expanding to Sundays starting in January, the Journal writes, UPS “will be assisted in part by the U.S. Postal Service, which delivers some UPS packages to homes for the final leg of a package’s journey.”

The story points out that “the changes illustrate a grand realignment of America’s parcel delivery apparatus as companies try to determine how best to deliver packages for insatiable online shoppers at the lowest cost possible.”

In addition to expanding its delivery schedule, UPS will install pick-up locations in retailers that include CVS, Michael’s and Advance Auto Parts - giving it, according to the Journal, “as many as 12,000 of their stores as new drop-off points for deliveries and returns. More of these access points help lower delivery costs because its cheaper to deliver multiple packages to one location instead of singular deliveries to multiple homes.”

In its analysis, the Washington Post writes, “Retailers and delivery services are racing to find new ways to offer fast — and secure — ways for customers to pick up their packages. Amazon offers free in-car delivery for Prime members, while Walmart’s Jet.com is testing smart-lock technology that allows workers to drop off packages in residents’ homes even when they aren’t there.

“UPS offers package pickups and drop-offs at about 9,000 neighborhood shops, banks and office buildings, as well as 5,000 of its franchised company stores. Its newest efforts would more than double its national reach.”

“Our big goal is to be near the U.S. population,” says Kate Gutmann, chief sales officer for UPS. “And retailers see this as a win-win: It’s a way to generate revenue and increase walk-through traffic.”

FedEx has been offering pickups at retailers such as Walgreens.
KC's View:
Sometimes it is just staggering how far we have come in terms of consumer expectations and how businesses turn themselves inside out to deliver on them. I’m old enough to remember when, in the town where I grew up, supermarkets weren’t even allowed to be open on Sundays. And now … there’s absolutely no reason and no excuse for why almost anything not being delivered anytime and anywhere you want it. (Except a sandwich from Chick-fil-A, of course.)

I think this is a good thing. Retailers certainly have no choice but to meet consumer demands, and delivery businesses like FedEx and UPS have no choice but to build out their infrastructures in response.

But it does seem like nobody, ever, will get a chance to take a deep breath and relax.