UPS is expanding its trial Access Point program, which currently allows users to pick up packages stored in smart lockers at nine test locations in Chicago, to kiosks at 300 convenience and other stores nationwide. The company points to added convenience for shoppers who miss their delivery and prefer the option of picking up their package at a nearby store, but even the director of the UPS Access Point locker program notes that "providing additional convenient delivery locations is one of the secrets to more shopping cart conversions." Consumerist chimes in that the company benefits, too, because trying to deliver one package at a time to people who aren't home "is a lot less efficient than the business-to-business shipping that UPS was used to before Amazon Prime happened."
To use a smart locker, people scan their "sorry we missed you" slip at a kiosk typically located outside convenience stores like 7-Eleven, and the door with the waiting package opens. After testing the program in Chicago, it is expanding to Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington state, and will next include California, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Texas. CBS News reports that "it makes business sense" given more than one-third of online shoppers surveyed say they want an alternative way to pick up packages, while Bloomberg reports that the company already has 8,000 US stores that receive packages (not necessarily with smart lockers), including local retailers and pharmacies, and another 16,000 in Europe. Online retailers can even integrate the locker delivery option during the checkout process. (Check out how UPS is making its delivery routes smarter, too.)