Retailers resist UPS attempts to remove parcel terminals from stores

Shipping service UPS has urged partnered retailers to use their own mobiles for its services


Letters from UPS sent last week demanding stores return UPS terminals and use their own mobiles instead have sparked anger from partnered retailers.

Shop owners operating UPS Access Point parcel services reported receiving the letters, which urged them to return countertop units and instead download a UPS app on their phone to continue providing the service in store.

The switch from scanning machines to mobile apps has been taking place since 2022.

Yet, several shop owners told Better Retailing the new system causes queues in store, and puts an unfair burden on retailers to either buy a mobile specially for UPS services or make staff download the app on their personal devices.

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Ira Parikh, of Top Shop convenience store in Frodsham, Cheshire, was one of those to receive the letters last week.

She commented: “We’re not very happy about that. I’ll have to buy a separate mobile and keep it in the shop so everyone can use it, or I’ll have to ask a number of staff to download the app, which I’m not sure they’ll do.”

Jignesh Patel, of Best-One in Sevenoaks, noted there was resistance among staff to use their personal mobile for the switch.

“Some of the staff don’t want to use their personal mobile [for] that,” he said.

There is also concern that the app only works on specific smart phones, which not all retailers want, or have access to, or can afford to buy.

Parikh explained: “The older staff that don’t have smart phones won’t be able to use it, I’ll have to buy a separate phone [for them] and unfortunately pay for it with my own money. I have no idea why [UPS is] doing this. I have no idea why they’d want to take our machine back.”

New UPS process slowed down

A staff member in a UPS-partnered card shop in South London, who asked not to be identified, told Better Retailing the store received a notice letter last week, on Tuesday 22 August, and the new app system is “dreadful”.

The store worker explained its features slow down the parcel process. As the app uses battery on her personal phone, she logs out of it when it is not in use.

There is no autofill option to log in, so when customers arrive for parcel services there is “quite a lot of faffing around”.

“If it was a Saturday, the queue for UPS pick-up could be going out the door. UPS is not there to help.”

She added that if you were to look up the store’s Google reviews, the “bad reviews will be because of UPS”, as opposed to the fault of the store itself. “I guarantee it,” she added.

A UPS spokesperson acknowledged these changes were being made.

They said: “Based on our evolving offer for many of these locations, we have launched an app to allow them to provide a seamless experience to end customers.”

The company added it will “continue to work with individual locations” to “ensure proper support and continuity of service”.

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