Dell Inc., Austin, TX, will start shipping some of the computers it sells to U.S. post offices for customer pickup rather than directly to buyers' homes via United Parcel Service. Beginning Oct. 10, Dell will use the U.S. Postal Service's new Hold for Pickup, formally launched by the USPS today.
The free service allows mailers shipping high-value and heavyweight goods to give customers the choice of having the USPS hold packages at local post offices for 10 calendar days instead of dropping them off at their home.
Shippers using Hold for Pickup will notify each customer of the post office holding the package. If the package is not picked up within three days of arrival, the USPS sends another notice to the customer. Items will be held for 10 days before being returned to the shipper.
The service is currently available in 5,600 of the country's 38,000 post offices.
“The advantages are cost savings to the shipper, customer convenience and security for both the business client and the consumer,” said Nick Barranca, USPS vice president, product development.
Barranca said the postal service was responding to requests from shippers wanting the option of notifying customers that their items were being held at a local post office.
Dell said it will use the service for consumers who buy entry-level desktop and notebook computers. The only charge is a handling fee, which is included on all Dell purchases.
“The Hold for Pickup service will be the default option for this set of customers,” Dell spokeswoman Jennifer Davis said. “If they choose at-home delivery, that will be available at an additional charge.”
UPS will continue to handle these computer shipments as well as shipments to businesses and for customers buying higher-end systems.
Though the service is cheaper for Dell than having UPS deliver packages to every door, Davis said the main message is about choice.
“We pay attention to costs, of course, and how can we continue to deliver the very best value,” she said. “But the primary decision was based on what our customers want and how we can give them those choices.”
Independent shipper APX Logistics will transport the computers to post offices. Postal workers will scan the packages, automatically notifying Dell so it can let customers know the packages are available for pickup.
“We expect that Hold for Pickup will be expanded in the future to include all parcel products to further meet customer needs around greater access and convenience,” Barranca said.
Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters