Holiday purchases arrive on time in 2014

Shipping Management

The 2013 holiday season was plagued with late shipments due to unexpected sales activity combined with poor weather conditions in the lead up to Christmas Day. While there was little merchants could do about these factors, it did not matter from the customer’s perspective – their holiday gifts were late and it was all the retailers’ fault.

99 percent of express deliveries from UPS and FedEx were received on time.

Fortunately, merchants and their carriers stepped up big this year. Despite the fact that many sellers offered late deadlines – Amazon in particular was offering same-day shipping as late as Christmas Eve – most orders were delivered on time and well before December 25th.┬áCiting research from ShipMatrix, Internet Retailer reported 99 percent of express deliveries from UPS and FedEx were received on time, which is up from the 90 percent that was observed the same time last year.

Improvements made by retailers and shippers

Both retailers and carriers alike should be commended for improving year-over-year and putting the appropriate plans in action to ensure no delivery disasters occurred this year. As Internet Retailer pointed out, carriers such as UPS invested significant amounts of money – upward of $175 million – into ensuring all packages were delivered on time. UPS, for example, hired 95,000 seasonal employees and also boosted expenditures in eCommerce-related efforts.

UPS invested significant amounts of money – upward of $175 million – into ensuring all packages were delivered on time.

At the same time, retailers took steps on their end as well. Many carefully scrutinized which carriers they would use for the holiday season, and some even utilized multiple carriers to ensure they would not put all their eggs in a single basket. Investments in order fulfillment also paid off – when retailers can pick and pack items more quickly, it gives them a greater window to ensure packages get out the door promptly.

Additionally, many merchants offered omnichannel functions such as in-store pickup, which gave customers the option to pickup items in-store. This means merchants will potentially be shipping fewer items and allowing customers to pick them up directly.

Shipping is one of the biggest pain points of shopping online, and late deliveries only make it worse. Retailers must always be on the look out for ways to make this process as seamless and painless as possible to maximize customer satisfaction.

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