- UPS and Michaels are partnering on a temporary contactless parcel pickup and drop-off service across 800 Michaels stores participating in UPS' MyAccess program, according to an announcement Wednesday.
- The services are designed to help customers send and receive items while maintaining social distancing. Consumers can ship UPS packages directly to a Michaels store, and drop off pre-labeled shipments and make returns to any e-commerce retailer that accepts UPS return shipments.
- UPS' MyAccess program encompasses 40,000 pickup and drop-off locations worldwide, around 1,100 of which are located within Michaels retail locations. CVS and Advance Auto Parts are also members of the program, though UPS has yet to announce a contactless program of this kind with either retailer.
Contactless services, including buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) options, have become increasingly popular alternatives for retailers as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to force temporary store closures in many states.
In Texas, the government is mandating non-essential retailers provide a BOPIS option if they want to reopen. Retailers that want to remain competitive must exercise their existing omnichannel options or build out the capability from scratch.
Ninety percent of the locations in UPS' Access Point network are open and supporting pickup and drop-off, Kevin Warren, UPS's chief marketing officer, said in the release.
The coronavirus pandemic has challenged retailers' omnichannel operations as customers shelter at home and have goods from groceries to crafting supplies delivered instead of purchasing them in-store. UPS reported an 8.5% increase in average domestic daily parcel volume on Tuesday, and a 45% drop in associated profits.
This volume shift, and other broader disruptions the outbreak has caused nationwide, has caused UPS and FedEx to suspend service guarantees. The U.S. Postal Service, another lifeline for consumer and small business deliveries, is feeling the strain as well and is in danger of running out of funds by the summer.