Back in January, we covered the launch of a pilot program by FedEx that was focused on shipping and delivery of large, “bulky” items that would be not only shipped directly to the customer but brought through the door.
FedEx Freight Direct was created to be a “white glove” delivery experience, in which online shoppers could feel comfortable purchasing large items that once seemed unreasonable to buy online, knowing that they won’t have to worry about lugging an unreasonably heavy piece of furniture or equipment into their home.
As of October 15th, FedEx has announced that that program’s success has warranted its full launch across “80% of the United States.”
eCommerce is Changing Shipping
The delivery of bulky items is not a revolutionary service, for FedEx or any other carrier. What makes this service different is that not only does it enable the shipping of very large items, but it offers the service of bringing those items directly through the front door of a customer.
This is a huge innovation for eCommerce, especially those retailers that sell large items like furniture, big-screen televisions, and exercise equipment. In some cases, the service also will be able to do the assembly on site.
When eCommerce began to explode, larger items such as furniture were left out of the bonanza, mostly due to the inability to have them easily delivered. However, companies such as Wayfair and others started to make cracks in that wall.
FedEx, seeing this opportunity, has opened the doors to smaller players in this space to provide the kind of shopping experience to potential customers that other, larger players can.
Details of the Service
The new service will include 3 tiers to meet the needs of their customers:
- Standard: Delivery into the “first room of convenience,” as well as a two-hour delivery window and the ability for customers to select delivery times and receive proactive notifications
- Premium: Standard + delivery to a room of choice and optional packaging removal with at least 2 FedEx team member conducting the delivery
- Basic: Delivery to the front door, currently “Residential Delivery”
The Evolving World of Shipping
As with anything involving retail (and now, shipping), Amazon looms large in the background. In 2019, Amazon began to move full-steam ahead on its plans to bypass traditional carriers and begin to become a full-fledged carrier in their own right.
The most obvious indication of this move came this Summer when FedEx formally ended its entire shipping partnership with the eCommerce giant. FedEx, it seems, has seen the writing on the wall and has taken pro-active action to prepare themselves for the eventuality that they will be competing, head to head, with Amazon for eCommerce delivery.
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