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Shipping Delays? What Shipping Delays? Carrier Confidence Continues

Three days before Christmas Day, the three major US shipping carriers were upbeat about getting packages into the hands of shoppers in time for the holiday.

USPS spokesperson Sarah Ninivaggi said on Tuesday that the Postal Service was currently seeing a 15 percent increase in packages delivered over last year, and said its performance was strong during peak season 2015. “This is a result of careful planning and preparation that has been ongoing since January and enables us to flex our network and manage customer expectations.”

The USPS has increased capacities in surface and air transportation; added new package sorting equipment; further developed routing options to increase efficiencies; and hired 30,000 employees for the 2015 holiday season.

“We also are delivering packages with expanded hours early in the AM and later in the PM and on Sundays before Christmas, which helps manage volume, keep the network fluid and ensure timely delivery of packages,” said Ninivaggi.

UPS spokesperson Susan Rosenberg said the vast majority of customers have received their shipments on time as UPS is executing its holiday plan. “We have worked closely with the large retailers and have reinforced that we are staying with their committed volume levels this week to keep our network operating efficiently.”

Rosenberg pointed to UPS My Choice delivery alerts that reassure people who are awaiting shipments and provide them with opportunities to note preferences.

And, she added, “Our drivers and delivery helpers will be out well into the evenings through Thursday night,” Christmas Eve.

While FedEx doesn’t have final numbers yet, spokesperson Gretchen Mathis said FedEx picked up a record 26 million packages on December 14, resulting in the busiest day in the company’s history.

“Our networks are performing as designed and we’re working hard to absorb the extra volumes as this record number of holiday shipments flow through our global networks,” Mathis said. “We’re extremely proud of our team members around the world who continue to help the holidays arrive.”

While there are rumblings about delays here and there, 2015 is nowhere near the pain point experienced in the run-up to Christmas 2013 when a good number of online shoppers failed to receive their orders before the holiday.

Typical thoughts about the USPS, a popular option for small sellers in particular, are found on this thread on the Etsy boards. One seller who uses the Postal Service to delivery her packages said, “I’ve definitely had an uptick in packages mysteriously getting “delayed” for a few days & consequently not getting delivered within their estimated 3 to 5 day window,” something the seller said she noticed started happening around Black Friday. While she worried about the impact on her seller performance metrics on Amazon, she wrote, “Regardless, still love USPS!”


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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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.