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The UPS Store vs FedEx Kinko’s

Recently I’ve been hearing radio ads promoting photocopy and bindery discounts at The UPS Store. Photocopy? Huh? If this isn’t an example of how to dilute your brand I need to go back to school. *cough*

Why do I say that? Because the UPS brand is all about delivering my package. It’s not about copying in color for only 39 cents a sheet. It’s not about the fact that they can also bind my presentation for me. It certainly isn’t about color prints vs black and white.

Looking back a few years, remember how when FedEx purchased Kinko’s they purposefully kept the Kinko’s name? That was a smart move on their part because for one, Kinko’s had a name. The two brands stand on their own.

When UPS purchased Mailboxes Etc. last year they didn’t get as good a deal. Mailboxes Etc. didn’t have mass market appeal and was more about your neighborhood post office box — not photocopying and printing. Despite this fact UPS is trying to be all things to all people. A big mistake. It won’t hurt them in the long run however they will only dilute the UPS name and waste time and money. UPS means shipping. It can’t also mean “color copies.”

What should UPS have done? They should have made a gutsy move to purchase Alpha Graphics and rebranded the stores as Alpha Graphics UPS. That would have kept both ideas separate in my mind and would have presented a business advantage.

Lastly, if Alpha Graphics had said no I still think it makes sense to purchase Mailboxes Etc., however what was done next should have been different. UPS should have come up with a clever name (something cool like Kinko’s) and launched a new photocopy center overnight.

We all know what this is really about. It’s not about photocopies and it certainly isn’t about helping small businesses print their next set of generic business cards. This is about major shipping services having a location. A place in people’s minds that they can reference any time they need to ship something. In this case, FedEx Kinko’s is doing everything right and UPS should focus on what they do best — shipping.

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1,504 Comments

  1. John, Google biz opps in S.W. Florida. You can research it for yourself. Maybe you’ll want to buy them, lol.

  2. This is a great franchise and the model works. It is all about leadership. I purchased an established store (opened in 1989) in a small town of 70k people and have increased sales by nearly 100% in just four years. We are one of the top stores in the country and have earned it. Yes – I am in the store everyday and take pride in wearing the UPS logo. I do not know of anyone who complained there way to the top. It is not easy being the best but if you try and execute what the system provides it will work.

  3. Worktweb, what, pray tell, is your gross/STR from this “top store in the country” that’s located in a town of 70,000? For that matter, what’s the name of the small town? My guess is that if you’re a “top store,” the per capita income in your “small town” is well into six figures, and you’re not making your big numbers on UPS shipping…

  4. The forum lives! Thanks to Chris for providing this internet space to discuss the UPS Store fiasco.

    There is no way that the success rate of this franchise is very high. I have it from a good source that the failure rate for a new store in this franchise is about 70%. The franchisor may be able to hide the rate by churning the stores. They may be able to claim that the store is still open. However, a new franchisee who opens a new store will fail about 70% of the time.

  5. It’s truly scary how bad this Franchise is once you are in it. You don’t truly want to believe that UPS would do some of the things they do to people. It’s a game of getting middle income people into debt – then becoming debt collectors which is where the real money is being made these days.

    When I was getting in I noticed how bad the Area Franchises dressed and that the other owners would scrounge over a free meal. I noticed a very low level of quality people, but ignored the signs. DON’T IGNORE THE SIGNS.

    The thing about the franchise is most people are not going to go bankrupt on a $250,000 franchise. They are going to fight through it and try to sell or get it to breakeven and manage it through their commitment.

    2 years ago these stores were selling for 250,000 or 300,000. Now they are going for 100,000 or maybe 150,000.

    Churning the stores are getting harder and the future if very gloom.

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