Starting this spring, a small-scale rollout will begin, and FedEx says it expects to have the program available at "thousands of Walgreens locations later this calendar year and chainwide at nearly 8,000 Walgreens stores by the fall of 2018."
The shift to e-commerce has been a transfer of responsibility for package security, away from the retailer in the direction of the customer. Last-mile delivery companies have struggled with security issues as volumes have surged. A report from insuranceQuotes.com found that an estimated 23 million Americans had packages stolen from their homes in 2015.
In countries such as the U.K., regulations are stricter in an effort to head off these kinds of risks.
“Our research has shown that customers rank pharmacies as a preferred location for accessing their e-commerce shipments,” said Raj Subramaniam, executive vice president, chief marketing and communications officer for FedEx Corp. “The addition of Walgreens locations to the existing network of FedEx retail offerings will substantially increase customer access.”
UPS provides a similar service with its UPS Access Point locations, currently numbering more than 24,000 worldwide, including 8,000 in the U.S. Another initiative that is just being rolled out in the U.S. is its self-service “smart locker” program. The latter was a response to customers who “would start out with UPS directed volume,” and would then migrate from that to “taking it into their own hands to direct-volume to the locker,” explained Kalin Robinson, director of new product development at UPS.
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