UPS launches new rural community franchise model
UPS is extending its services to small business owners across all areas in the US, following the launch of its Main Street franchise model, which is designed to support the opening of UPS Stores in small towns and rural communities across the United States.
The new model allows franchisees to save up to $80,000 in comparison to other UPS Store Franchise stores in more urban locations, allowing qualifiying franchisees to save $20,000 in fees and an additional $40,000 to $60,000 in other UPS store franchise costs.
According to 2010 Census data, nearly one third of US residents live in rural areas, figures which prompted the new scheme.
"We have heard firsthand from our small business customers how important it is for them to support their local communities," said Chris Adkins, vice president of franchise development at The UPS Store, Inc. "Our Main Street model can help make sure small businesses in rural locations have access to the products, services and support they need."
The UPS Store has been endorsed by SCORE, a US national organisation dedicated to helping small businesses grow through education and mentorship, for its efforts to grow business in rural communities.
"Rural small businesses are often challenged to easily find resources that can help them grow," said Mark J. Dobosz, president of The SCORE Foundation. "SCORE believes that with greater expansion into rural areas, The UPS Store can help small businesses grow, and ultimately help improve the economic fabric and overall health of their communities."
The UPS Store offers a range of products and services aimed at meeting the needs of small business owners. As well as offering to services like packing and shipping, printing, faxing, direct mail, and mailbox services, The UPS Store will also work with business owners to develop custom solutions to meet their unique business needs.
"Every The UPS Store location is owned by individual small business experts that are well-versed in the unique make-up of the communities in which they work and live," said Adkins. "They can offer insights, advice and services relevant to other small businesses in their neighborhoods."
Cainiao Network Launches Customer-Centric Logistics
As the logistics division of the Alibaba Group, Cainiao Smart Logistics Network has decided to provide its Southeast Asian customers with unsurpassed service during its annual shopping festival. Based on customer feedback surveys, the company will expand its real-time customer service support and speed up delivery times. ‘By expanding and deepening our services, we aim to provide a stronger logistics infrastructure that can bolster the booming eCommerce sector, support merchants’ expansion into new markets and diversify retail options for consumers’, said Chris Fan, Head of Cross-Border, Singapore, Cainiao Network.
Who Is Cainiao?
According to TIME Magazine, Cainiao ‘is far from a typical logistics firm’. The company controls an open platform that allows it to collaborate with 3,000 logistics partners and 3 million couriers. This means that merchants can choose the least expensive and most efficient shipping options, based on Cainiao’s real-time logistics analytics. The company’s goal is to ship packages anywhere in the world in under 72 hours—and for less than US$3.00.
For countless small business owners around the world, from coffee-growers to textile-weavers, this could change everything. Usually, it costs about US$100 to ship a DHL envelope from Shanghai to London in five days. Cainiao aims to change that. Said its CEO Wan Lin: ‘The biggest barrier to globalisation is logistics’.
What’s Part of the Upgrade?
Throughout the Tmall festival, Cainiao’s logistics upgrade will be divided into four critical segments:
- Real-time customer service support. Cainiao has launched a direct WhatsApp channel for customers to receive logistics updates and ask questions.
- Expansion of air freight parcel size and weight limits. Packages can now be up to 30 kilograms or 1-metre x 1.6 meters to help ship large items such as furniture.
- Daily air and sea freight connections. Shipping frequency will almost double to seven times weekly to maintain resilience and efficiency.
- Compensation for lost or damaged packages. Customers will be reimbursed up to RMB 2,000 (US$311).
Where is the Company Headed?
From June 1st to June 20th, the finale of Tmall, Cainiao will ensure that its customers feel confident in the company’s ability to deliver their packages. Despite global shipping delays due to COVID, the show will go on. Said Fan: ‘This series of customer-centric logistics upgrades reaffirms our goal of pursuing value-added services to enhance customers’ shopping experience while mitigating challenges posed by external factors’.
Furthermore, Cainiao has recently expanded its Southeast Asian operations, achieving revenue growth of 68% year-over-year. In Malaysia, the logistics operation has partnered with BEST Inc. and Yunda; in Singapore, the company has partnered with Roadbull, Park & Parcel, and the Singapore Post. And if its recent measures help retain and grow its customer base, the company will be well-poised to lead the industry in resilient and customer-centric global logistics. ‘COVID-19 made everyone realise how important the logistics infrastructure backbone is’, said Wan. ‘And it gave us a peek at what Cainiao should look like in three years’.