As people buy online more frequently, tracking what’s coming when becomes a task in and of itself. There’s a mobile app called Slice that can hook into your emails watching for shipment notifications. You can also manually add tracking numbers to it. The Slice app will help you track when the packages will arrive.
FedEx and UPS also jumped into the fray and started offering value-added services. As shipment orders get into their system, FedEx and UPS know packages are coming to you based on your name and address. If you register with FedEx and UPS, you can see packages coming to your name and address whether you have the tracking number or not.
The programs from FedEx and UPS are very similar. They both operate on the “freemium” model. The basic features are free. You can get some additional features on a pay-per-use basis, or you can pay an annual fee to have those features all year long.
FedEx Delivery Manager
The FedEx program is called FedEx Delivery Manager. A free registration gives you:
- Delivery notification
- Redirect delivery to a FedEx location
- Suspend delivery during vacation
- Pre-sign for delivery
- Delivery instructions
Paying a fee will get you:
- Customize delivery time window
- Redirect delivery to a different address (not just a FedEx location)
Here’s a video from FedEx for more information on how it works.
UPS My Choice
The UPS program is called UPS My Choice. A free registration gives you:
- Delivery alerts
- Sign online for delivery
- Hold for pickup
- “Leave at” instructions
Paying a fee will get you:
- Upgrade UPS SurePost packages to UPS Ground
- Deliver to another address
- Customize delivery window
Here’s a video from UPS for more information on how it works.
The Slice app is read-only. You can only track packages. The FedEx and UPS programs can modify the delivery behavior. Just the free features are often good enough. If you are out of town, you can send the packages to a FedEx or UPS location for pickup when you come back.
I actually used a paid feature once from UPS. I was going on a trip but an item I needed was coming just one day too late by UPS SurePost, which uses the Post Office for the last mile. I paid $3.50 to upgrade it to UPS Ground. It worked. I got it the day before I left.
A downside is that if someone is sending you a surprise gift, you will know it’s coming, and from whom, before the package arrives. It takes away the surprise but if you just pretend you don’t know, you can still thank them when you actually receive the package. It happened to me once. When I got notified that a package was coming to me from Lindt & Sprüngli, I knew it was my sister sending me some tasty Lindor chocolate!
[Photo credit: Flickr user Canon]
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The Postal Service has a free app – my.usps.com – that also tracks packages and lets you add delivery instructions. Amazon has been sending many of my packages via USPS, so this app has been useful.
I’ve used the UPS My Choice service several times, and like it. There’s just one hitch. I live in an incorporated city located with a larger unincorporated area. Both have the same zip code. Though both addresses are “valid,” I only get notifications for one of them.
There’s also Junecloud’s Deliveries app. And Amazon’s own app notifies you although it’s been a little hit or miss.
Artie McDonald says
You left out the USPS’s program that provides inbound delivery notifications just like UPS and FedEx. My USPS launched late last year. You can pre-sign for some deliveries (or leave delivery instructions) and schedule redeliveries through their portal.