Helping small business smooth out online flip-flops (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)
UPS Inc. (NYSE: UPS) said today it has rolled out an e-fulfillment program to enable small to midsize merchants to sell goods on up to 21 e-marketplaces and web stores and have UPS fulfill, pack and ship the orders as they come in.
Under the program, goods will be stored at warehouses in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, and Bloomington California. Customers can either use the UPS delivery network or a carrier of their choice to deliver inbound goods to the facilities. Once an order is placed on a marketplace and the merchant selects the delivery time. UPS will pick, pack and prepare the product for outbound deliveries to the final destinations.
The program is available to UPS customers worldwide who want to list their goods on U.S.-based e-marketplaces. However, their customers must be located either in the U.S. or Canada.
The initiative is part of UPS' broad strategy to court small to midsize businesses, many of whom are heavy if not exclusive users of e-commerce. The program is designed to integrate selling and fulfillment without subjecting merchants to the cost and headaches of doing it themselves, UPS said.
"UPS understands that small- and medium-sized businesses want the same high quality services as large e-commerce companies without the same amount of complexity," said Kevin Warren, UPS's chief marketing officer, in a statement.
According to a recent UPS online shopper survey, more than 96 percent of U.S. online shoppers report making a purchase at a marketplace.
UPS said it will offer bundled pricing to give sellers a clear picture of fulfillment costs. It also provides integrated package tracking and billing, which the company says helps reduce the time and effort for merchants to keep up with the cost and status of shipment deliveries. Atlanta-based UPS said it is offering a 60-day risk-free trial of the service. The company began piloting the program in 2017.
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