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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3473 - December 15, 2014 - ISSN 1539-5065    4 of 4

UK Faces Holiday Shipping Meltdown

By Ina Steiner
EcommerceBytes.com
December 15, 2014




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Shipping companies in the UK are swamped with holiday orders from online retailers, and even eBay is giving sellers a bit of a break by extending delivery estimates by one day.

"Online gifts may not arrive in time as couriers for major retailers admit they are swamped," cried the Daily Mail headline on Friday. It said shoppers were complaining of appalling customer service from delivery firms with reports of two-week delays, lost goods and parcels left in odd places.

Yodel, the UK's largest delivery company after Royal Mail, posted a notice on December 11 stating the recent Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other retail promotions had resulted in unexpectedly high parcel volumes across the carrier industry. "On these key days we have experienced volumes that were up to 26 per cent over the forecast from our clients."

On Wednesday afternoon, Yodel made the decision to temporarily defer new parcels entering its sort centers for 24- 48 hours "to give us the room to clear the back log." On Saturday, it said it had "re-commenced many collections," with the remainder to be back on schedule by Monday. It created a special page to keep customers informed about shipping delays.

So widespread were the reports of shipping problems in the UK that one publication felt the need to advise customers on Thursday of their rights when parcels go missing.

eBay advised sellers on its UK board, "With record breaking parcel volumes being delivered across the UK, we have decided to extend our delivery estimates for all domestic Royal Mail services (except Special Delivery services) by 1 day from today. In addition to this, from next week, delivery estimates for Royal Mail, DPD and Collect+ services will be adjusted to be in line with their last posting dates."

It's not clear what impact the much publicized shipping problems are having on online sales in the remaining weeks before Christmas.

Meanwhile in the U.S., the Postal Service is expecting its busiest day today, December 15, with 640 million cards, letters and packages expected to flow through its system.

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About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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