By Matt Dickerson
Senior Vice President
With the holiday shopping season looming, e-retailers and their shipping partners are gearing up to prevent a repeat of last season’s epic delivery fail.
While the vast majority of online purchases “guaranteed” to arrive by Christmas Eve were indeed delivered on time, those many successes were largely overshadowed by the highly publicized backlog of late deliveries. The images of angry parents and sad children on Christmas Day are still burned into the minds of consumers.
According to a recent story in Supply Chain 24/7, this year, both Fed Ex and UPS are working to to solve the “Christmas Crush” of online shoppers by:
- Hiring more workers — More than 145,000 seasonal employees have been already been hired, up 15% over last year, and
- Investing to increase capacity — So far, $1.5 billion in system upgrades have been made between the nation’s two largest carriers to boost capacity.
Those improvements notwithstanding, neither UPS nor FedEx is willing to double the size of their existing operations to handle a once-a-year spike … shippers simply won’t build a new church to handle a three-day surge.
A better solution for both e-retailers and their shipping partners is to better manage the consumer. Both parties are making plans to spread the shopping and delivery timelines this year with earlier cut-off dates to hit a guaranteed Dec. 24th delivery. The load will then be spread more evenly and consumers will know how to manage the clock.
Ultimately, if online shoppers fail to get in front of the deadlines set by Amazon, Walmart.com or Nortstrom.com, they’ll need to get in a car and pick up the item in person. This should give traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers a leg up inside the 48 hours before Christmas as shoppers look to finish at the buzzer.