2020 Holiday Shipping Delays, Expectations and Suggestions [Guide]

Holiday Packages

It’s Christmas morning: kids running downstairs excited to see all their presents, but there’s nothing under the tree… what happened? Were they bad this year? Of course not! All of their presents are stuck in shipping delays and did not make it in time for this traditional morning celebration. This is certainly a tragic scenario many want to avoid. However, it may end up becoming a reality for many consumers that aren’t aware and prepared for the Holiday ‘Shipageddon’. 

What is ‘Shipageddon’?

According to the New York Times, there are going to be massive shipping delays and bottlenecks this holiday season. We all remember in March and April when it would take weeks to receive packages opposed to the typical 5-7 days caused by the drastic increase in online sales, it may be similar to that. Due to the pandemic, the ecommerce boom has really pushed the limits of parcel companies. USPS, UPS, and FedEx are already expecting to be stretched to their limits. With COVID cases on the rise and additional in-store restrictions imminent, the increase in ecommerce shopping certainly will not dissipate anytime soon.

“67% of shoppers plan to complete most or all of their holiday shopping online”Source 

Shipping Concerns Affect Consumers and Merchants

Just as customers are worried about their packages arriving on time, merchants are too. Increasingly, customers look to merchants for shipping reassurance, and with shipping being inconsistent this year, it’s hard for businesses to convey the message. These concerns can flood customer service centers with repetitive needs or complaints – framing your company as being in the wrong. Don’t get stuck with the blame or an overflow of questions, manage your customer’s expectations and remind them that you cannot control delivery companies. 

“In a recent survey of 63 merchants by CommerceNext, an event series and community for retail marketers, respondents said that their biggest logistics concern leading up to the holidays was that carriers like FedEx and UPS would cap deliveries during peak demand.”Source 

Promotional Images 

Some easy ways to remind customers about possible shipping delays are to add banners and promotional images in various placements throughout the website. This helps to persistently inform customers what to expect with any possibility of shipping delays. The Promotional Images On Category Page add-on can do just that. Mix your promotional messages about shipping times and delays in with product cards on category pages for customers to see before even viewing products. 

Customized Checkout Text

Whether you’re setting up a final shipping reminder on the checkout page or changing text details to ensure customers get one last reminder about how long it may take to receive packages so that you won’t be held accountable for shipping setbacks, our Ebizio app has various modules to help enhance the checkout process on both the consumer and merchant’s ends. The Text Editor Module allows merchants to change the text and language through the checkout page. Add detailed reminders about policies and shipping for customers to review before a final purchase. 

Shipping Insurance

With an increase in package deliveries, it’s natural for more “package casualties” to happen as well. Oftentimes many packages are shipped without insurance because our postal and delivery systems are excellent. However, this season with the shipping providers’ capacity being pushed to their limits, shipping insurance should not be overlooked. This insurance can be yours and your customer’s last defense. When a package goes missing or is damaged upon arrival, customers reach out to customer service to help solve the issue. This additional human element to the transaction has the possibility to lead to a lost sale or lost future returning customers, depending how the problem is handled. To mitigate this issue on all ends, insurance reassures customers that they are taken care of and valued. BigCommerce talks about the importance of shipping insurance, the different types of shipping and insurance, and who is responsible for shipping insurance in this article here.

Last Days for Holiday Shipping

With all precautions set in place, it is important for merchants and customers to be aware of estimated delivery timelines. Ensure your customers know which method to choose and when it may be delivered by, all while knowing the last day you can ship orders to guarantee a holiday delivery. Here are the top parcel carrier’s estimated delivery deadlines for holiday shipping within the continental US: 

UPS Shipping Deadlines 

View all UPS deadlines here.

Use UPS shipping calculator and delivery estimator here.

  • Dec. 15: Last day to ship UPS Ground for delivery Thursday, Dec. 24.
  • Dec. 21: Last day to ship UPS 3 Day Select for delivery Thursday, Dec. 24.
  • Dec. 22: Last day to ship UPS 2nd Day Air packages for delivery Thursday, Dec. 24.
  • Dec. 23: Last day to ship UPS Next Day Air for delivery Thursday, Dec. 24.

FedEx Shipping Deadlines 

View all FedEx deadlines here.

  • Dec. 9: Last day to ship via FedEx SmartPost.
  • Dec. 15: Last day to ship via FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery.
  • Dec. 21: Last day to ship via FedEx Express Saver.
  • Dec. 22: Last day to ship via FedEx 2Day and FedEx 2Day A.M.
  • Dec. 23: Last day to ship via FedEx Standard Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight, and FedEx First Overnight.
  • Dec. 25: Last day to ship via FedEx SameDay City Direct, FedEx SameDay City Priority, and FedEx SameDay.

USPS Shipping Deadlines

View all USPS deadlines here.

  • Dec. 15: Last day to ship USPS Retail Ground® Service.
  • Dec. 18: Last day to ship First-Class Mail® Service.
  • Dec. 19: Last day to ship Priority Mail® Service.
  • Dec. 23: Last day to ship Priority Mail Express® Service2.

The holidays can be hectic even when everything goes perfectly. Ensure your business and consumers are prepared for everything 2020 has to throw at them this year. As BigCommerce Elite Partners, IntuitSolutions is prepared to help you manage your customers by preparing your website to have the best solutions for every problem. Chat with our team of experts today or give us a call at 866-901-4650 to discuss your website concerns.

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