Four Tips to Avoid Holiday Shipping Delays

December 18, 2019

When Bing Crosby sang that he was dreaming of a white Christmas, he probably wasn’t thinking of blizzards and ice storms – or peak season shopping.

In fact too much of the white stuff can easily turn into an eCommerce nightmare.

Holiday Shipping Delays Explained

On the one hand, consumers understand that winter weather contingencies can wreak serious havoc with parcel deliveries. On the other, much like Santa is somehow able to make it to kids’ houses in any kind of weather, they still expect that they’ll able to get items delivered to their doorstep exactly when they want them, no matter what. And boy can they become cranky if that doesn’t happen.

As evidence, consider this story about Amazon Holiday Shipping Delays that ran earlier this month.

Regrettably, we don’t have a red-nosed reindeer we can throw at this particular challenge. However we do have some food for thought.

Four Tips to Avoid Holiday Shipping Delays

  1. First, be ready to adapt your delivery promises on your web site. After all, it’s better to under-promise and over-deliver than the other way around, especially where gift purchases as concerned.
  2. Second, consider changing your final order cut-off date so that there’s some extra wiggle room – be it a day or more. Yes, we know that it looks more appealing to promise timely delivery on any order made as late as December 24. But in many cases, making such promises when winter storms are looming is simply unrealistic and unfair to the purchaser.
  3. Third, familiarize yourself with carriers’ expedited shipping options now so that you can offer those options up to consumers. Some, like that spouse who forgot to purchase a gift until the very last minute, may be willing to pay the very steep shipping fees just to keep themselves out of hot water.
  4. Fourth don’t underestimate the value of a well-positioned DC network. One of the reasons why some eTailers can offer such swift delivery is that they’re located super-close to end customers and can actually reach them within a few hours if necessary, which gives them more latitude to use a wide variety of delivery methods (even Uber, if push comes to shove). While you may not be able to position your product QUITE that close to your customers, adding a couple of DC locations could enable you to trim as much as a day or two off your average transit time, and that in turn could make a huge difference in being able to deliver before Christmas or Hanukkah rather than after them.

We’ll be talking about more holiday pain points – and how to offset them – over the next few days, so we hope you’ll join us again soon. Until then, may your days be merry and bright. And may all your Christmas shipments be right. 

Read other blog posts from this 12-part series entitled "The 12 Days of Peak Season":

Day 1 of 12: Some Shoppers Who Wanted Shipping Free (The Problem Of Low-Cost Shipping)

Day 2 of 12: Two Urgent Moves (The Challenge Of Fast Holiday Shipping)

Day 3 of 12: Three Missed Bins (The Problem Of Inaccurately Filled Orders)

Day 4 of 12: Four Appalling Words (The Challenge Of Late Or Delayed Shipments)

Day 5 of 12: Five Broken Things (The Problem Of Damaged Shipments)

Day 6 of 12: Six Trucks Delaying (Shipping Delays & Dock Congestion)

Day 7 of 12: Seven Systems Slowing - (IT's Role in Inventory Management)

Day 8 of 12: Eight Costs A-Growing (Rising Fulfillment Fees)



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