Will Santa’s helpers deliver gifts in time for Christmas?
Many remember the Christmas of 2013 when, because of high delivery volumes and bad weather, many gifts ordered online never made it to American homes in time for the holiday. There have been issues the last couple of Christmases, as well, but nothing akin to three years ago. While no one is predicting a 2013 redux, one- to two-day delays being reported this holiday season are raising concerns about deliveries to be made closer to Christmas.
On time delivery rates for FedEx and UPS have fallen slightly since Thanksgiving, according to a Wall Street Journal report. UPS has moved “hundreds” of people from its headquarters and other offices to regional hubs to handle the record volume of orders made online this year.
Looking more closely at the numbers, on time ground deliveries for FedEx and UPS are down slightly from their averages from the rest of the year. The good news, is that ground deliveries are showing about a one percent improvement over last Christmas. Of more concern are deliveries that rely on air shipments. FedEx has been hitting its windows around 94 percent of the time while UPS has delivered on time about 91 percent.
A surge in online orders has severely tested the fulfillment and distribution capabilities of retailers and their shipping partners this season. Weather and wildfires have also affected delivery timelines.
Carrier-reported issues have increased from 7.6 percent during Thanksgiving week to 12.5 percent last week, according to Convey, a delivery technology provider, which is advising retailers to alert customers to potential delays.
“Retailers can use this messaging to encourage shoppers who need the packages earlier to self-select into an expedited shipping option while also setting reasonable expectations for those who can wait,” wrote Rob Taylor, CEO of Convey, in an email to RetailWire.
Walmart is pushing in-store pickup to avoid delivery snafus of online orders. The retailer is offering free in-store pickup on Christmas Eve for orders placed by 6:00 p.m. on Dec. 23.
- UPS, FedEx Struggle to Keep Up With Surge in Holiday Orders – The Wall Street Journal
- What will Christmas on Sunday mean for last-minute deliveries? – RetailWire
- Wal-Mart beefs up delivery options for online shoppers as Christmas countdown begins – CNBC
- FedEx ruins Christmas for some – RetailWire
- FedEx CEO blames retailers for Christmas delays – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Where do you see the biggest problems when it comes to retailers and their shipping partners handling deliveries during the Christmas selling season? How would you advise retailers to handle delivery-related issues as Christmas draws closer?