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E-Commerce Is Where Retail is Growing. FedEx, UPS Want a Bigger Piece of the Market.

Major package delivery companies UPS and FedEx are upping their game when it comes to servicing customers’ e-commerce needs.

UPS is now offering free plug-ins to make its tools and services seamlessly available within four e-commerce platforms: WooCommerce, PrestaShop, OpenCart and Magento.

The offering is part of the recently announced UPS Digital Access Program that natively integrates the company’s services into popular e-commerce platforms and provides competitive shipping rates to users. Armed with these plug-ins, merchants can quickly open a UPS account and manage multiple aspects of shipping and fulfillment in their existing e-commerce platform, according to UPS.

“As the retail industry rapidly transforms, UPS continues to find new ways to make its…services more accessible,” Kevin Warren, UPS chief marketing officer, said. “With UPS’s Digital Access Program, we’re leveling the e-commerce playing field for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) worldwide, allowing them to offer many of the same services…[as] the world’s largest brands.”

The e-commerce software plug-ins enable merchants with UPS accounts to access their negotiated rates and integrate a wide range of UPS delivery services into their favorite commerce platform. In addition, SMBs can open a UPS account within the plug-ins and get access to discounts of up to 55 percent off daily rates.

Plug-ins allow merchants to print labels within the e-commerce platforms, including for multi-order batches; full control over shipping rates displayed to e-shoppers; presentation of accurate, scheduled delivery times to e-shoppers during checkout, and access to real-time tracking information.

For its part, FedEx Corp. has officially started delivering FedEx Home Delivery packages on Sunday for the majority of the U.S. population, advancing the transformation of one of the largest global transportation networks in the world.

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“Now that FedEx Ground delivers FedEx Home Delivery packages on Sundays to most U.S. residences, we have increased our speed advantage significantly to kick off the new year,” Raj Subramaniam, president and chief operating officer of FedEx. Corp., said. “This provides added value to e-commerce shippers throughout the U.S. and the 188 million online shoppers in 7,700 cities and towns where FedEx Home Delivery packages are delivered on Sundays. As more customers expect weekend delivery, this enhancement to our network means that every day is now a delivery day at FedEx.”

FedEx Ground began delivering residential packages on Sundays during the most recent peak holiday season. Delivering residential packages on Sunday speeds up most shipping lanes by one or two days, the company noted, and its a particularly valuable advantage for shippers and consumers of healthcare and perishable goods.

“Delivering seven days a week was critical to our success this past peak season, as we experienced some of the highest volume days in the history of the company, including shipping nearly 38 million packages on Cyber Monday alone,” Subramaniam said.

Over the peak holiday-shipping season, FedEx Ground said it experienced 42 percent year-over-year growth in FedEx Home Delivery package volume during December and delivered nearly 8 million FedEx Home Delivery packages on Sundays between Black Friday and Christmas Eve. Despite record volumes, nearly 18 percent of FedEx Ground packages were delivered one full day early, the company noted.

Also enhancing e-commerce delivery, FedEx said its extensive retail network now includes more than 14,000 FedEx hold locations, including pick-up and drop-off services at more than 2,100 FedEx Office locations and retailers such as Walgreens, Albertsons, Kroger and Dollar General, with 80 percent of the U.S. population now living within five miles of a FedEx hold location.

With FedEx Delivery Manager, package recipients can customize home deliveries to fit their schedules, including changing the time and location of a delivery, requesting a signature upon delivery and leaving instructions for the courier.