UPS Hits Milestone In Drone Delivery

On the latest episode of the E-Commerce Retail Briefing podcast:

UPS has hit a milestone in drone delivery. The shipping company has received the first broad approval from the FAA. UPS plans to start using the drone approval for package deliveries to hospital campuses.

  • Neiman Marcus is expanding its beauty wellness category. The luxury retailer launched the new Clean Beauty online shop, which is focused on an assortment of natural beauty products. The shop will be comprised of skincare, haircare, and nail care products. Neiman Marcus is launching the new initiative just in time for the holiday season, where according to a survey, 45% of shoppers said they are more likely to do their holiday shopping with retailers that address wider social issues. 
  • SoulCycle is continuing to shift into a direct-to-consumer brand. Earlier this year, the company created its first in-house product team and launched its apparel brand, Soul by SoulCycle. Now SoulCycle is rolling out three new initiatives to push further toward a direct-to-consumer retail model. The company is launching an affiliate program to leverage its instructors as influencers. They’re also one of a handful of brands testing Instagram’s product launch feature, and the company is relaunching its e-commerce platform under the new name of Soul Shop. While Soul by SoulCycle originally launched at Nordstrom and is still being sold there, the company’s focus going forward will be focusing on direct-to-consumer retail.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond announced that they have added experiences to its wedding registry categories. The retailer has partnered with wedding registry experience platform, VEBO, for the new program. Bed Bath & Beyond isn’t the first major retailer to use this tactic. Target partnered with Honeyfund in 2018 to add experiences to its registries. Adding experience-based gifts to the registry could be beneficial for the home retailer as consumer behavior continues to shift around the category. The brand director at Zola said that millennials, in particular, are spending more on their honeymoons. 
  • Younger consumers are increasingly seeking brands that are aligned with their values. A 2018 survey found that 52% of millennials and 48% of Gen Xers feel it’s important that their values align with brands they like. For retailers and brands, focusing on sustainability is not only crucial to protect the environment, but is a key way to win over younger consumers and drive long-term brand loyalty.

UPS Receives First Broad Approval For Drone Delivery

UPS has received the first broad federal approval for drone delivery. The shipping company applied for the Federal Aviation Administration’s approval in July. The approval is a milestone in commercial drone delivery, with other companies like Amazon and Uber trying to add drones to their delivery fleet to cut costs and deliver goods faster. Wing is also planning to start trials of drone delivery with Walgreens and UPS rival, FedEx, in Virginia this month. Unlike UPS’s broad certification, most test approvals are limited to small areas, with restrictions remaining about flights over densely populated areas.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s broad approval gives UPS the ability to fly at night and out of sight of the operator. The approval will also allow the drones to carry items over 55 pounds. UPS plans to start using the approval for package delivery to hospitals but could expand to other campus environments and even homes.