|Thu Dec 11 2014 15:02:57|
How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?
By: Ina Steiner
Christmas is exactly 2 weeks away, and we're wondering how the shipping carriers are performing this year. Are your packages getting to customers in a timely fashion? If you're having delays, which services (i.e., USPS Media Mail vs. Priority Mail) are problematic?
One report came in this week of a USPS glitch - a seller said his packages are showing as "picked up" with a time prior to the label print time! He said he ships using PayPal shipping for 90% of his items, and lately has seen odd chronology such as the following:
December 8, 2014 4:50 pm - Picked Up
December 8, 2014 9:30 pm - Shipping Label Created
December 8, 2014 10:14 pm - Departed Post Office
"I actually printed the label at 4:30 pm, an exact difference of 5 hours," he explained. "Something is wrong with the PayPal/USPS interface. I know PayPal shifts some server operations to Europe when performing maintenance here in the states, so perhaps that is an underlying reason. I'm just wondering if other sellers or ecommerce shippers have experienced the same."
On this same date last year, we wrote about shipping delays some merchants were experiencing that were caused by winter storms. I took a look at the service alerts pages of the three major carriers today, none of which are showing any problems (I'm not sure if Buffalo, New York has caught up from the freak snow storm that hit there last month):
AccuWeather came out with results of a survey on Tuesday, a reminder that weather has a direct impact on offline retail shopping. The survey polled 1,000 respondents across the U.S. and found that 58 percent of adults would not head out for holiday shopping in the event of a forecast of at least 4 inches of snow.
- Southerners are more likely to delay shopping in inclement winter conditions, with 35 percent stating that just 1-3 inches of snow would hold them back from retail brick-and-mortar stores.
- In contrast, in the Northeast, 33 percent of respondents stated that it would take a more significant snowfall amount of 7-9 inches to keep them from braving the elements.
The survey also found that the majority of respondents did not have to brave bad winter weather to complete their last-minute holiday list last year.
Share you holiday shipping stories. And don't forget our Online Seller's Guide to Holiday Shipping 2014 published in the EcommerceBytes Update newsletter.