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Thu Dec 11 2014 15:02:57

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

By: Ina Steiner

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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?

Glitches

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."

Weather Delays

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):

- USPS

- FedEx

- UPS

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.




Comments (21) | Permalink

Readers Comments

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?   How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

This user has validated their user name. by: LDS Brother

Thu Dec 11 18:01:16 2014

I honestly couldn't say ?????

My sales must be secretly THROTTLED !

I am selling about 4 items a week for cost, or a few $$$ over and I am Top Rated Plus

No traffic or no exposure

Google and eBay MUST make up again

Sorry if a bit off topic, but I have sales like the the Month of June, only it is Christmas

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?   How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Thu Dec 11 20:01:46 2014

USPS is losing my packages at a record rate.

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?   How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Dec 11 21:49:33 2014

I live in Los Angeles County. I was shipping a package to Riverside County, the next county to the east, so it should take two days at the maximum. Mailed the package Tuesday of last week, it was delivered last Saturday. So double the time that it should normally take. That's the only package I've kept my eye on as I was having problems with the seller.

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?   How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Fri Dec 12 03:11:26 2014

Priority package hand delivered to the PO on Tuesday with acceptance scan receipt. Buyer did not receive until the following Monday. We are both in the same time zone EST and having no bad weather that week. 7 days to deliver using priority. Pretty poor performance for what the USPS charges USA sellers for postage.

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?   How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 12 03:15:12 2014

No REPORTED problems. The only whining customer I've had recently was nearly 2 months ago when a buyer in RURAL Central California started OBSESSING about delivery on a season of Smallville by Media Mail. On day 4 he wasn't asking for refund, but WAS picking at ME that it had left the L.A. sort facility, but day by day no recorded further scans. His Podunk was only 90 miles ENE from L.A. so I was beginning to AGREE with him that something was wrong. In the event it took 10 calendar days Houston to Podunk, but when all came to light I believe it was THERE days earlier, but he had NOT gone to his post office station to SEE if it was "hiding" in his P O Box pigeon hole to SEE the pick-up receipt OR KEY to a larger locker in the lobby.  MEDIA MAIL has been a Wonderful Tool to allow me to sell 14 oz and higher DVD movies and Books at tolerable NET TOTAL prices.  Cannot overlook the COOL Priority Mail Flat Rate BUBBLE Padded envelope either. Under $6 to ANY zip code including Puerto Rico, Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, APO/FPO and South Pacific Islands.  Worked out very well on sending 4 DVDs to France about a month ago for a reasonable price that was 1/3rd what this lady would have had to pay had I used the Godforsaken GSP.  ONE last example.  I shipped to Denmark by Intl First Class the Wednesday BEFORE thanksgiving. Arrived on his doorstep the following MONDAY, FIVE calendar days later. Very happy Dane. 5 days Houston to Copenhagen.

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?   How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 12 05:37:38 2014

How are shipping carriers performing?????

HA HA HA thats as funny as How is Ebay performing??

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?   How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Fri Dec 12 07:22:57 2014

UPS damage is PI$$ING ME OFF !
Stupid Temp workers !

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?   How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Fri Dec 12 07:54:32 2014

I'm usually up early - I noticed a USPS truckster making deliveries at six-o-something in the morning!

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?   How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

by: Donkey This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 12 09:26:14 2014

Priority Mail packages shipped Monday have still not been delivered.

Guess who the buyers are blaming when they are not there by the ESTIMATED ebay delivery day.

I am getting killed with defects by this broken ebay system.

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?   How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

by: rudestar This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 12 17:05:24 2014

USPS First Class packages taking 48 hours East to West Coast.
Priority taking 72 hours.
My local PO is not busy.

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?   How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 12 21:40:07 2014

USPS International First Class package took only 5 days Houston to Copenhagen DENMARK.  3 days later shipped a DOMESTIC USPS 1st Class package out on Dec 3.  Dec 9 it finally made 38 miles from NW Houston to Bush Intercontinental airport sort center... still INSIDE HOUSTON city limits. Today Dec 12 customer in SLC, UT asked if I had DELAYED mailing it out. Houston to SLC 9 days and counting with ''in transit'' as the ONLY comment on the Dec 9th tracking report.

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?   How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Sat Dec 13 01:10:25 2014

I mailed a priority mail to the UK on 10-12 and that shows up on tracking. The tracking now says that it finally made it to the origin sight in Chicago on 12-12 (O'Hare Airport)and it is only 50 miles away. USPS is woefully slow.  

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?   How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

by: OnlyPollyPocket This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Sun Dec 14 20:03:03 2014

First class package (USPS) shipped November 24th from Las Vegas to Ohio has visited more cities than a depression-era hobo!  For the past week, it has been bouncing between my post office and the sort facility across town. The tracking report is two pages long!  VERY patient customer, will be sending a duplicate item in the a.m. via Priority and a few prayers.

Second package, Priority, Las Vegas to Illinois also bouncing all over.  Been back here twice and is now in St. Paul, MN.

Again great customer but having to send duplicate items in the a.m. so she has them for Christmas.

Guessing/hoping that someday these two packages will appear in my mailbox.

Otherwise, USPS has done very well for me.

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?   How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

by: tb This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 15 01:06:59 2014

UPS has been disastrous this season.. already.As a receiver, I've received 3 postponements, 1 large delivery reported as "delivered" when it wasn't, and a lost package that I reported a week ago and heard nothing about since. I tell all my suppliers to ship any other method.

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?   How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

by: bb6 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 15 02:33:20 2014

Holiday...Wait....what...It's Christmas already? Damn where did 2014 go? I feel like I just finished my 2013 taxes!!!  

My post office has been great this year and packages seem to be getting to customers at the normal speed.  

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?   How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

by: Gina This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 15 10:37:22 2014

I wish I could add comments, but I've had NO SALES since Nov. 10!  It's hard to hear people complaining when they STILL HAVE AN INCOME!

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?   How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

by: Dragonfyree This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 15 11:11:03 2014

Have a package stuck in New Jersey since 11/16.

Refunded my buyer, was able to send duplicates of 4 of the 7 items, but they were for free.

USPS was no help.

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?   How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 15 20:47:43 2014

today a DVD I shipped out from Northwest HOUSTON was delivered to the customer in SALT LAKE CITY 12 days later. Taken to REAL post office and dropped off before their final pickup in the LOBBY on Dec 3rd.  Delivered In SLC Dec 15th. TWELVE DAYS in transit. It gets worse. Those FIRST SIX DAYS the package never left the Houston Metro area. Six days to travel 38 miles from Cairway station to the Houston Sort Center near Houston Intercontinental Airport. Then six more days to crawl to SLC. So much for eBay and their silly 4 days to delivery nonsense. On a CHEERIER NOTE I just bought some DVDs on eBay on Saturday.  The AUCTION ad said the same silly 4 days, but the UPDATE from Ebay/PayPal was MUCH MORE reasonable as to the anticipated delivery dates.  PRIORITY MAIL mailed TODAY shows anticipated arrival Dec 18 thru 22. Think about it. 3 day is the EARLIEST suggested delivery and Longest is 7 days after drop off. Even using BUSINESS days the 22nd is SIX business days. Sadly I'm betting that the VAST MAJORITY of buyers ONLY see and remember the 4 days they saw on the auction ad.

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?   How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

by: ajeweler This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 16 08:50:35 2014

my opinion, e bay labels and usps interface, does not work I started using stamps.com, in addition when you print out labels that are marked everywhere ebay thieves see these and steal them, e bay policies are if it is delivered you are covered however once a case opens with claim false or not you receive defect point, I had called e bay one time they explained that usps worked for me, I told them if that was the case e bay worked for me also, needless to say the rep hung up on me, in addition I had a buyer claim she received open package, I refunded her, because e bay told me I would loose the case as she claimed that the $27.00 bracelet was not in the package, only to find out that 3 months later I had Google a similar item, and she had the item she never received on pinterest  and was also selling the item on e bay, after the usual hour+ hold, I got defect removed and reported the buyer, however still out money and item as the rep said it was too old to refund or give me credit unreal I would say that e bay labels and shipping are not useful and if other shipping methoods are used are good

How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?   How Are Shipping Carriers Performing in Holiday Crunch Time?

by: used2luv2sell This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 19 10:49:05 2014

@OP,
I've been seeing the exact issue you stated; shows my package accepted at 5AM when NO ONE IS THERE & it was actually dropped off the previous day.  Ebay then will not think I gave 1 day shipping of course because the PO, like Ebay, does nothing wrong.  After watching this on many items I've sold recently, I emailed the PO and told them which PO is not scanning their labels on a timely basis.  They wrote back that they  need more information like tracking numbers.  I barely had time to write, much less go to all that work.  I thought maybe a supervisor would want to stop by and check this out.  HAHAHHA, just kidding.  No wonder Ebay and the USPS get along so well.  They both like to screw US taxpayers and LOVE China!  What is wrong with this picture???

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