Sweetwater customers can now ship their orders directly to FedEx retail locations.

As a retailer of musical instruments and equipment, Sweetwater often sells to consumers who may be on tour, working long nights on new records or toiling away at day jobs to support their passions. But those customers also worry that the bulky and expensive equipment they ordered online may attract thieves to their doorstop.

To combat this issue, Sweetwater, No. 83 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 500, partnered with FedEx Corp. that gives shoppers a more secure option for delivery. Buyers can now choose to have Sweetwater.com orders shipped to a FedEx retail location for holding until they’re ready to pick the package up, instead of having orders delivered to a home or office.

The new shipping option is a matter of convenience for customers, according to a release from Sweetwater chief digital officer Mike Clem. “It’s fascinating how many customers are beginning to choose a retailer based on who can make delivery most convenient, not just fastest,” Clem said.

By default, Sweetwater requires a signature upon residential delivery because its products are often stolen. However, customers can opt out of the signature requirement. The new FedEx features offers the “best of both worlds: convenience and security,” Clem tells Internet Retailer. 

During the checkout process, Sweetwater shoppers can select the option to pick up at a FedEx store for no additional shipping fees. A dialog box pops up that lets them input their ZIP code to find the nearest locations. Customers can choose any of the more than 11,000 FedEx locations, including FedEx desks inside No. 37 Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.’s Walgreens locations, The Kroger Co. (No. 86) and other stores. 

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vSweetwater ups delivery security and saves money by offering FedEx stores as pickup options

The pop-up window gives information on the stores customers can choose to ship items to.

Once the order arrives, the customer receives a phone call from FedEx. Orders can be held for five days behind the counter, and FedEx employees retrieve them when the customer arrives and shows the proper identification.

FedEx has long allowed recipients to redirect packages to FedEx stores through its FedEx Delivery Manager program. However, that requires shoppers to log in after a shipment is sent out. This coordination with Sweetwater eliminates that step and benefits Sweetwater as well.

According to Clem, Sweetwater gets a slight secondary benefit from shipping to FedEx stores: not paying residential delivery surcharges. Both UPS and FedEx charge more for packages delivered to retail addresses than business locations. FedEx charges $3.45 more per shipment for residential delivery, while UPS charges a $3.60 residential surcharge.

Of course, Sweetwater isn’t the only one offering secondary delivery options. Amazon.com Inc. (No.1) has offered delivery to the company’s special lockers since 2011. UPS also has lockers for e-commerce packages and is testing in-building deliveries in a partnership with smart lock-maker Latch. Walmart Inc. (No. 3) and Amazon are also working on in-home deliveries for certain markets.

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