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February 12 2014

Parcel Delivers Packages After Hours, When You're Actually Home

Online shopping gives us a new level of convenience. With just a couple of clicks, anything can be delivered to your doorstep — that is, as long as someone's home between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to answer the door.

But for working city dwellers without doormen, this poses a bit of a problemParcel, the first delivery service specifically designed for New Yorkers, wants to make sure you never have to see a "missed delivery" sticky note again. It promises to deliver your online purchases at a time when you'll actually be home.

Here's how it works: You go to Parcel's website and sign up for a free account, which is tied to a unique shipping address at Parcel's facilities. Whenever you purchase from an online retailer, you enter the Parcel address instead of your own. When your package arrives at Parcel, you'll receive a text to set up a convenient drop-off time between the hours of 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. on any day of the work week. Read more...

More about Online Shopping, Features, Ecommerce, Delivery, and Apps Software

January 21 2014

Amazon May Know What You Want Before You Buy It

Anticipatory shipping may be closest that retail can come to a crystal ballAmazon, which now has a patent for the algorithm-based system, could conceivably use the system to ship products before you even place an order.

Amazon filed for the patent, officially known as "method and system for anticipatory package shipping,” in 2012, and it was awarded on Christmas Eve of the following year. The patent summary describes a method for shipping a package of one or more items "to the destination geographical area without completely specifying the delivery address at time of shipment," with the final destination defined en route Read more...

More about Amazon, Online Shopping, Delivery, Business, and Marketing

November 13 2013

Postmates Is Your New Personal Shopper

For consumers, the state of ecommerce is good. You can get just about anything from Amazon shipped to you in two days (with free shipping if you have Amazon Prime). In terms of variety, you can discover and purchase anything from a custom iPad case from Etsy to Chicago pizza from Goldbely and have it delivered to your door. But as online shopping improves, it contrasts with purchasing something across town — which increasingly seems to be a hassle.

The goal of Postmates, an iOS app currently live in three U.S. cities, is to make products across town as accessible as those online. While the app is fresh and new, employing a similar interface as Uber's, the concept behind it is classic: You request items and a courier contracted by Postmates will pick up the goods and bring them to you. You can pay or tip via the app. Read more...

More about Delivery, Courier, Lifestyle, Work Play, and Supported

September 25 2013

Google Opens Same-Day Delivery Service to Entire San Francisco Bay Area

Google's same-day delivery service is now available to anyone in the San Francisco Bay Area, from San Francisco to San Jose, the company announced Wednesday.

The service, called Google Shopping Express, launched in late March to beta testers in certain neighborhoods and has gradually been rolling out to the entire Bay Area

Google Shopping Express lets customers shop from more than a dozen retailers, including American Eagle, Office Depot and Blue Bottle Coffee to be delivered by a fleet of couriers from a business Google has partnered with. The company has stayed vague about subscription pricing for the service, but it will cost $4.99 per store pickup and is currently free to try for the first six months. Read more...

More about Google, Delivery, Business, and Google Shopping

December 22 2011

FedEx Guy Destroys PC Monitor, But Not All FedEx Guys Are Like That [VIDEO UPDATED]

After you watch this video, you might have a bad taste in your mouth about FedEx delivery personnel. But I think this guy is an aberration, an outlier against a corps of FedEx employees that I’ve noticed are second to none.

See update below: FedEx responds with a video of its own.

Before we get to the praise of FedEx and its legion of delivery people, take a look at the nonchalance with which this dweeb tosses a fragile package over that fence, not even aware enough of his surroundings to realize there’s a security camera almost poking him in the face. The maker of this YouTube video said the thrown package contained a computer monitor, which was broken by this rough treatment.

A pox on all those who treat our delicate and valuable packages this way. As a consumer electronics product reviewer, I know all too well that the arrival condition of a package can often mean the difference between success or failure for me on any given day.

That’s why I would like to stand up for FedEx as this video continues to make the rounds of the blogosphere, its harsh message spreading like wildfire as this video explodes into viral status (with 2,981,920 views as of this writing), generally gathering negative comments about FedEx and its personnel along the way.

There’s a FedEx guy who regularly delivers fragile packages here to our Midwest Test Facility, and he treats every box and envelope as if it were full of spectacularly fragile Fabergé eggs. He is so kind and friendly, I know him by name, and he knows me by name as well. He’s always businesslike, professional and graceful with packages and his greetings. We’ve had similarly positive experiences with FedEx delivery personnel at our New York headquarters.

Of course, our experience is anecdotal, and by no means is a representative sample of FedEx delivery personnel worldwide. However, all FedEx delivery people I’ve dealt with — ever — have been of the highest caliber, so they can’t be all bad, or even close. So as we watch this viral video of this FedEx employee who by now might be working elsewhere (or not at all), let’s keep in mind that even the best companies can have awful employees.

As an aside, I’d also like to endorse motion-activated security cameras such as the one used in this video — probably a Logitech Alert security system like the one we have installed here — catching people and animals doing things they wouldn’t otherwise do if they realized they were being watched. Besides the cameras’ security value, they’re just plain fun to play with. And, they never fail to show us when our intrepid FedEx guy is on his way, which for us is always a positive experience.

UPDATE: FedEx responds with a video of its own: Good job! The company also wrote a blog post about the incident. THIS is how you handle a corporate crisis:

More About: delivery, FedEx, FedEx Guy, Video

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