The move comes as European consumers have increasingly turned to online shopping during the coronavirus lockdowns. The new delivery service offers businesses of all sizes, particularly smaller online retailers, a reliable and cost-effective option to reach their customers at the weekend, UPS noted.
“The pandemic has accelerated the growth of e-commerce, with online retail sales in Europe growing by more than 60 percent at the height of lockdowns in mid-April,” Lou Rivieccio, president of UPS Europe, said. “Introducing Saturday deliveries for UPS Standard is one way that we’re helping businesses adjust to the new environment by offering them the services they need to meet their customers’ expectations. Online retailers can now benefit from cross-border Saturday deliveries with UPS, reaching about 80 percent of the population in eight key European e-commerce markets.”
While weekend deliveries normally come with a surcharge, UPS is offering a Saturday delivery option at the normal weekday cost when shipping to one of more than 17,000 UPS Access Point locations in Europe’s top eight e-commerce markets. UPS Access Point locations are local businesses, such as neighborhood convenience stores with extended evening and weekend hours, giving customers the flexibility to pick up their parcels when it suits their schedule.
The new service complements existing UPS Express Saturday deliveries, which now benefit from a pre-noon delivery.
UPS noted it has recently invested $2 billion in enhancing its network in Europe, allowing it to provide businesses faster and more efficient connections to their customers in 220 countries and territories. As a result of this investment, customers can now reach more than 80 percent of Europe’s population within two business days using UPS Standard.
In May 2019, UPS significantly expanded the cadre of countries available to its U.S. customers using the company’s Saturday pickup solution for export shipments that had launched in 2017. An additional 122 countries located in all regions of the world were added to the current 57 destinations, including 20 new markets in Europe, 28 in the Americas, two in Asia Pacific and 72 in the Middle East and Africa.
Businesses that schedule a Saturday pickup for their UPS Worldwide Express portfolio packages from the U.S. to 179 international markets have their shipments processed and shipped on Sunday and delivered as soon as Monday.