Thinking about the holiday season brings to mind words like joy, family, cheer, peace, and goodwill. But in the two weeks prior to Christmas, the word on everyone’s mind – from retailers, to customers – is shipping!
The final days leading up to Christmas are all about buying products that will be shipped and delivered in time for the holidays.
Learning from past mistakes (and wins) many online retailers are opting for new strategies and offering a wider range of shipping deadlines to ensure delivery by Christmas Eve. Because
Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday, many online retailers are working hard to let shoppers know how much time they have to receive their order by December 25th. For most retailers, Thursday, December 21st is the cutoff for expedited delivery so packages will be under the tree
Free Shipping Day
And a big date related to holiday shipping happens this week. Friday, December 15th, is the 10th annual Free Shipping Day,which is expected to include more than 1,000 online merchants.In order to participate, online retailers must offer free shipping with delivery before the holiday with no minimum purchase requirement. Last year, 1,200 retailers participated in Free Shipping Day, generating $967 million in online sales.
No Shipping Threshold
A number of retailers are changing up their shipping programs this holiday season and promoting free shipping with no minimum threshold. The dates vary for each retailer, but online they recognize that free shipping often seals the deal for shoppers.
In Store Pickup
Retailers are also giving shoppers more ways to get their purchases. Although, buying online and picking up in store is not a new concept, more retailers are offering the option to consumers on a wider range of products. For consumers knowing they can pick up their purchase give them added confidence to buy.
Last Minute Delivery
For procrastinators, Amazon will offer last-minute delivery of specific products ordered as late as Christmas Eve in nine U.S. cities. This may also work for mobile shoppers. Almost half of mobile shoppers expect same day or the next day delivery, according to Google. Mobile searches related to “same day shipping” have grown 120% since 2015, Google says.
The Last Mile
But even if online retailers do everything they can to inform shoppers of ship dates, they are dependent on a handful of carriers to get the package there on time – a factor retailers can control.
UPS expects peak volume for the holiday season of Nov. 24-Dec. 31 to hit a record 750 million packages, up more than 5% from the 712 million delivered during the 2016 season. FedEx also expects record parcel volume this peak season. And the U.S. Postal Service says it expects to deliver nearly 850 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.