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Tue Dec 17 2019 11:17:25

Amazon and Retailers Try to Extend Holiday Shopping

By: Ina Steiner

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Amazon highlighted delivery options available to last-minute shoppers in a press release on Tuesday to extend the holiday shopping period. It comes amid reports of shipping delays and as Amazon itself limits shipping options to merchants enrolled in its Seller Fulfilled Prime program. (See "Amazon FedEx Policy a Symptom of Holiday Shipping Woes").

In today's announcement to shoppers, Amazon suggested they consider package pickup options through "Amazon Hub," including Amazon Lockers, Amazon Counters, and Amazon Locker+ locations. "Shipping to a Locker, Counter or Locker+ location is easy. Customers simply search and select an Amazon Hub pickup location as the shipping address during checkout. Once a package is ready for pickup, customers will receive an e-mail with a barcode and a unique six-digit code that they'll use to pick up their package."

Package pickup also eases the challenge of last-mile delivery for shipping carriers.

Amazon noted that Amazon Hub locations are available for tens of millions of items sold on and works with Same-Day, One-Day, Two-Day and Standard Shipping. "These delivery options are available to all Amazon customers at no extra cost," it noted.

Amazon also highlighted ways it was helping keep the holidays "spoiler free" - in other words, helping shoppers to keep their gifts a secret from members of their households - and also described options to track and receive holiday deliveries. "This season customers can choose from a variety of ways to conveniently and securely pickup orders, track packages, and even select a preferred delivery day."

Amazon isn't the only one reaching out to last-minute shoppers. Macy's is also coming to the rescue, issuing a press release on Monday that painted a picture of anxious procrastinators: 

"It's beginning to look a lot like ... you waited until the last minute. Eight tiny reindeer aren't coming to the rescue, but Macy's has it covered with unique and thoughtful last-minute ideas from ultra-luxe to gifts under $100, $50 or $25 to make everyone believe their special gift was wrapped and sitting under the tree weeks ago."

Target told shoppers in a press release on Monday, "this year, we're serving up more ways than ever before to grab an eleventh-hour holiday gift or hosting must-have. Read on for our how-to guide to get you everything you need - just in the nick of time (and at a great price, too)." It highlighted extended hours at stores; order pickup (Buy Online, Pickup in Store); and curbside delivery: "Drive Up via the Target app and we’ll bring it out to you. Most orders for both Drive Up and Order Pickup are ready in an hour."

Visit, and you'll see something interesting: a switch shoppers can toggle to limit results to next-day delivery, and a rotating banner that highlights 2-day delivery options ("Get it by Christmas! Order with two-day delivery by 11 am PT, 12/22 to get it in time.* Two-day delivery; Pickup today *See full details.")

We haven't seen such announcements coming from eBay or Etsy, which are more restricted in what they can promise to last-minute shoppers since they don't control shipping options (the sellers do). Nor could we find messaging about last-minute delivery options on their websites. This may actually please some sellers who don't want to set unrealistic expectations for late shoppers.

eBay does have a selection of items through its Deals portal that offer free, fast shipping, and Etsy offers digital goods on its site, so it can tempt procrastinators with downloadable and Do It Yourself gifts. 

In the final days before Christmas, we could see marketplaces and retailers hawking gift cards and their electronic equivalent, which can be downloaded or emailed to recipients. 

Feel free to chime in with what you're seeing in the wild. Are online marketplaces doing a good job of enticing shoppers while not setting unreasonable expectations around delivery dates?

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Perminate Link for Amazon and Retailers Try to Extend Holiday Shopping   Amazon and Retailers Try to Extend Holiday Shopping

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Thu Dec 19 01:05:46 2019

Out of 5 outgoing packages this morning, three went out via Priority as the buyers had requested and paid for expedited shipping. My concern is what happens pretty much at least one buyer at Christmas time ignores the fact that I sell sewing patterns and are upset to find that they got an envelope with paper inside instead of an actual garment. Oh course, they never indicate size, color or fabric and completely ignore the fact that they are in the sewing pattern category, buying something called a pattern (if I make the listing it says sewing pattern). But they get mad at ME like somehow this is my fault that they don't know how to read. Last year someone bought a pattern that went from boys size 2 to men's 48 and got mad that he apparently didn't get a one-size fits all pajamas! LOL. And again he didn't indicate a size, color, fabric, nothing.

Perminate Link for Amazon and Retailers Try to Extend Holiday Shopping   Amazon and Retailers Try to Extend Holiday Shopping

by: Fahrenheit451 This user has validated their user name.
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Thu Dec 19 14:19:16 2019

This year the only notice I am going to post is that people may experience delays in shipping. There is no point in promising 1 or 2 day shipping when that is in fact impossible even for Amazon. I am a small business so I am subject to whatever weather conditions are responsible for the delays, or the backlog of packages being shipped. I am simply not going to worry about it.

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