UPS bets on Kindle Fire to target last-minute shoppers


The new UPS Kindle Fire app

The United Parcel Service has rolled out a new Kindle Fire application that integrates Facebook and the companys My Choice program to let consumers track and ship packages.

The UPS Kindle Fire app lets consumers track packages and freight shipments from their tablets. With mobile holiday commerce already up significantly year-over-year, the initiative is an attempt to tap into the growing amount of tablet commerce.

Its flexibility [that is driving mobile adoption], and weve seen that the mobile interface with UPS is growing, and were just creating the opportunity for the convenience for both information, for tracking, for locators and pricing information, said Susan Rosenberg, director of public relations at UPS, Atlanta.

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Mobile control
The UPS Kindle Fire app lets consumers track packages and freight shipments from their tablets. Consumers can log-in to their account to create a shipping label for a contact in their address book.

The app also includes a store locator feature so that consumers can find the nearest shipping center.

UPSs My Choice program is also integrated into the app, which leverages push notifications the day before a package is scheduled to be delivered. The service lets consumers reschedule or reroute their deliveries.

UPSs Delivery Planner tracks all of the details on an in-bound delivery and elimates the need for consumers to type a lengthy password into their mobile devices.

A screenshot of the new app

Additionally, UPS has rolled out a new feature to all of its mobile apps that syncs with Facebook to make it easier for consumers to log-in.

UPS cites tomorrow Dec. 17 as the peak tracking day this year. The company expects formore than 78 million online tracking requests to be made tomorrow.

Facebook credentials provide many of the same features that already exist in the apps. One of the unique perks of using the Facebook syncing lets consumers nickname a tracked shipment.

Another screenshot of the app

Pack on mobile
UPS has been in the mobile space for quite some time as a way to streamline shipping and tracking packages.

In 2011, the company rolled out a mobile alerts program to keep consumers in the loop about their packages (see story).

The company has apps for Android, BlackBerry, iPhone and iPad apps in addition to the new Kindle Fire version.

UPS claims that its mobile apps have been downloaded more than four million times.

Although the Kindle Fire is not drumming up the same kind of marketing opportunity that it was a year ago, the device makes sense for UPS to leverage right before the holidays when consumers are shopping on the Amazon-owned device.

Mobile sales this holiday season have already grown substantially, and UPS is looking to tap into the growth in tablet shopping this year.

On Black Friday, IBM reported that mobile sales increased 43 percent year-over-year. Additionally, 25.8 percent of Thanksgiving Day online sales came from mobile (see story). 

[Mobile is] a growing area for us, Ms. Rosenberg said.

Were excited to add one more with accessible platform in a mobile-friendly format with the Kindle Fire app, she said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York

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