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UPS unveils new service to avoid missed deliveries

AP News
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Posted: Sep 14, 2011 4:56 PM
UPS unveils new service to avoid missed deliveries

UPS is hoping "sorry we missed you" notices will soon be a thing of the past. It's unveiling a delivery-notification service aimed at not missing you at all.

Called My Choice, the basic free membership service allows package recipients to be notified of incoming shipments and provided an approximate arrival time the night before delivery.

Delivery alerts will be offered through e-mail, text or phone calls. For packages that require signatures, members can electronically sign for packages on their computers or mobile phones.

For $5 per package, members can also choose to re-route the package to another address or a UPS Store in real time rather than waiting to get a "delivery attempt" notice on your door.

A premium version of the service costs $40 per year and provides delivery alerts, a delivery planner and the ability to leave driver special instructions. Premium members also are offered a two-hour delivery window, compared with the four-hour window offered for free.

The service starts Oct. 3, in time for the peak holiday shipping season. Customers can register before then at www.ups.com/mychoice/pr.

UPS said it's developing the service to accommodate the growing segment of customers that shop online. Shoppers spent $32.6 billion online during the holidays in 2010, a 12 percent increase from the year before, according to comScore. Last year was the first time that sales on Cyber Monday _ a critical online buying day that falls the Monday after Thanksgiving _ exceeded $1 billion.

Besides giving customers more clarity about when their package will be delivered, the service will cut down on UPS drivers' wasted trips. The company already makes a number of adjustments in a driver's route to be more efficient, like making only right turns.

Although most online shoppers can't choose their shipping provider, UPS CEO Scott Davis said in an interview with The Associated Press that he's hoping My Choice will make consumers put pressure on retailers to favor UPS over competitors, including rival FedEx Corp.

United Parcel Service Inc., based in Atlanta, delivers to more than 100 million residential addresses each year.

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Samantha Bomkamp can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/samwilltravel.