Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Dec 25 2012 11:58:25

Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?

By: Ina Steiner

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It's finally here, December 25th - Christmas Day! Online sellers have been promoting, processing, packaging and mailing frantically for weeks, and can finally breath a sigh of relief. Or can they?

Did your holiday shoppers get their items in time to give to friends and loved ones? Disappointed buyers have ramifications for merchants, from negative feedback on eBay and Amazon to being losing future orders from what could have been loyal customers.

One reader emailed today to report his disappointment with some holiday purchases:

"You should do a survey about product fulfillment, shipping reliability and broken promises during the holidays.

"I had finished my shopping but I received two offers for items guaranteed to arrive before Christmas. The items were really at a great price so both were impulse buys. Of course I had to pay for the expedited service but the deals were great so I figured the shipping was worth it. Guess what?

"Neither item made it.

"I wonder how many experienced this and who was at fault, the sender or the shipping service....or me for waiting to close before Christmas to order. I will say Christmas was not ruined, but I am a bit ticked that I paid for service I did not receive.
 
"I will add that both items were ordered on December 20th with a guaranteed deliver date of December 24th. One was coming by Fedex and the other one by UPS. Checked the delivery schedule last night and the one from Fedex is rescheduled to come December 26th and the UPS package is rescheduled to come on December 28th."

Did you get everything you ordered online in time for the holidays? And as sellers, did all of your holiday orders get delivered in time?

If not, what was the holdup? Overzealous promises from marketplaces? Shipping carriers not keeping to schedule? Problems with your own fulfillment operations?

What, if anything, would you do differently next year as a buyer, and as a seller?




Comments (18) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?   Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?

by: G-and-A This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 25 12:28:00 2012

USPS last date for mailing Priority Mail for Christmas delivery was December 21st.  All my packages sent by that date arrived in time!  USPS did a great job this year.

Unfortunately, Bonanza.com started a new delivery date warning right before Christmas that cut three days off of the shopping season.  Oh Well!  Hope the person who implemented that idea has been relieved of their job.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Dec 25 12:40:32 2012

Our only undelivered packages are well past USPS cut off dates for guaranteed delivery.

For our buyers who completed purchases after the Postal Service dates, we included a reminder added to our delivery details email that their package would be in transit with the USPS during the Christmas holiday and that they should anticipate an additional day for delivery.

Let the Post Christmas purchasing begin!!

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

Tue Dec 25 13:01:44 2012

Hi Ina!

Just wanted to share that my husband bought me a new purse from Coach..he ordered it as late as Saturday, and it arrived Monday...and he said he didn't have to pay an extra postage!

So there's a shout-out to Coach. ;)

In terms of my selling, I give all my amazon customers a free upgrade to first class (which sometimes is the cheapest option anyway), and with more expensive items I'll often ship Priority around the holidays just so they'll get it a little sooner. :)

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

Tue Dec 25 14:10:37 2012

USPS is still the best service for me.  Yes, everyone got their packages on time and no complaints here :-)  Of course, I'm always careful to tell last minute buyers that they will get their purchase after the holiday.

Perminate Link for Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?   Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 25 14:38:52 2012

It does not look like ebay adjusted estimated arrival times for the holiday again.
AS ALWAYS, sitting here PACKAGING and uploading tracking numbers on Christmas morning.
So nice to always get such CLARITY from our masters.
Thank you for being SO CONSIDERATE to your sellers once again JD.
(I wonder what is under JD's tree)?
Piaget?
A new Bentley convertible?
Patek Phillipe?
20 foot tree?
Or perhaps you are on a holiday to Greece?
Must be nice and you are WELCOME.
Empty fridge here, your sellers are BARELY FEEDING THEMSELVES and getting by, thanks to Y-O-U John Donahoe.

Mass Howler

Perminate Link for Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?   Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 25 14:40:42 2012

The postmaster at my local PO said that the rush did not really happen this year so Priority mail is on time.
This says alot folks.
Mass Howler

Perminate Link for Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?   Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Tue Dec 25 15:32:21 2012

Mass Howler - you're right - the few times this past week that I had to go to the post office the usual long long lines were not there.  There is definitely a lot LESS mail this year.

Perminate Link for Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?   Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?

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

Tue Dec 25 16:49:14 2012

One Priority Mail shipped three weeks ago still hasn't arrived in Hawaii, and the scans suddenly stopped in California. Same with another package, but it finally was delivered on Dec. 24.

It seems as if every year there's at least one lost package.

Perminate Link for Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?   Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?

by: WhoKnewIt This user has validated their user name.

Wed Dec 26 23:49:32 2012

Yes, I received everything as promised.  But, as an online Merchant on Etsy I really hated the new "shipping time" boxes to tic.  Once the label is printed and I get it to the Post Office I have NO CONTROL over when that item is delivered.  Even when I pay extra for Priority shipping they P. Office will tell you "we don't promise it will be delivered in 2-5 days time".  Well, then why am I paying more for it?  I really don't like some of the online sites insisting I am "responsible" for getting the package there on time.  Think about it, am I?  But, I must say all I mailed out Priority DID get there on time this year, last year no...

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

Wed Dec 26 23:58:42 2012

Mailed 5 Christmas gift packages via USPS Priority Mail to WI and MN from TX on Sat 12/22, fully expecting them to arrive belatedly.

All were delivered Mon 12/24, which is amazing for any time of the year but remarkable for days before Christmas.  

Perminate Link for Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?   Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?

by: Shawn This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 27 00:00:38 2012

My husband ordered a gift for me from CafePress. The site said if he ordered Thursday, they guaranteed delivery by Christmas. Today (the following Wednesday) the item still hasn't shipped. :(

But I ordered a non-gift item from Petco on Thursday and did not pay for shipping. It was not supposed to be here by Christmas, but I got it on Saturday.

So my fish have something, but I'm still sitting here giftless. :(

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by: Terri This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 27 00:06:08 2012

I took a package to the Hunt Valley, MD (Baltimore County) post office on 12-18 and for some odd reason it went to the Baltimore City facility on the same day (it never use to do that). It still hasn't arrived to it's destination in Tulsa, OK, as you can see on the USPS website.

The tracking # is as follows:
9400109699939380006319


I'm wondering if the mid-west wintry weather could have something to do with it not arriving, yet.
I think I'm going to have to chalk this one up as lost and refund the buyer.

Perminate Link for Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?   Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?

by: JoyfulA This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 27 00:57:19 2012

We had snow Christmas day, more snow today, and expect more snow on Saturday. If the forecasters are precisely right, I should have a safe spot to ship this evening's orders tomorrow afternoon.
    My out-of-state presents arrived on time, but my husband's gift to me hasn't gotten here yet. He was excited by a Monday delivery that turned out to be parts he needs to fix his lawn mower.  

Perminate Link for Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?   Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?

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

Thu Dec 27 01:16:04 2012

I placed 2 orders with Amazon (different sellers), one promised the 22nd and the other the 24th.
I am still waiting for both.
As an ebay seller, all of my orders were delivered by the USPS and UPS as scheduled with no issues.  

Perminate Link for Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?   Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Thu Dec 27 09:03:45 2012

Even though I remain disappointed with what eBay has become... I am glad and grateful for the experiences I had during the good-years... and for the fact that eBay taught me a lot of things that allowed me to build a strong foundation for my own web site.

One of those lessons-learned was a great benefit to me over this past holiday season. Namely... when it comes to delivery times, I'll always ''under-promise'' and ''over-deliver''.

I know that this particular philosophy has its risks... and that by ''under-promising'' and playing-it-safe on an estimated delivery date, there's the real possibility that I might actually LOSE a sale (because my estimated delivery date falls beyond Christmas day.)

But, on the other hand, I think the trade-off may be worth the risks. In the end... even though I may lose a few last-minute sales... in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I have GAINED MANY satisfied customers who are very likely to be REPEAT customers.

To my knowledge, EVERYTHING that I shipped arrived ON TIME... except for ONE item that was returned because the recipient had moved and left no forwarding address. (And even then, it *would* have arrived on time if the address had been correct.)

FOR MY PERSONAL PURCHASES... everything I ordered arrived in time.

Ninety percent of the items I ordered online were eligible for Amazon Prime shipping... and the last thing I ordered was on Dec 17th. Everything arrived on time, in good condition, no errors in size-color-style-model, etc... and everything was in perfect condition!

What a blessing it was that I didn't have to visit a shopping mall for the entire holiday season! (BB&B got one ''last-minute'' visit from me, however.)

Perminate Link for Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?   Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?

by: baghera This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 27 10:54:12 2012

I have 4 packages, sent USPS, that still haven't made it to their destination. One was shipped the 17th, 2 the 18th and 1 the 19th. The latter 3 were not scanned in at our post office until the 24th, 5 and 6 days after the postal carrier picked them up. The 1st one wasn't scanned until the 25th, 8 days after pickup. I had a 5th package ship on the 19th, received positive feedback on the 24th, that never received any scans at all.

Talked to a clerk at the post office and they had no explanation, other than they are understaffed. No telling how these 4 packages got lost for 5 to 8 days while all of the other packages, that were also shipped on the 17th, 18th & 19th, made it to their destinations on time.

A few hiccups, but overall performance, not bad.

 

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 27 12:05:07 2012

I have a buyer who has threatened me due to what they are calling "Late" delivery--to--The Russian Federation!  From  Upstate NY.

Now this was not (as far as I know) a Christmas present--and if it WAS it was purchased too late in my book for accurate delivery at such a distance.

But the ebay seller is up against the incredible nerve of The Ho in promising the world and being perceived as FAILING to deliver.  

I was told that ALL of the First Class International mail that this buyer has EVER used CAME WITH TRACKING.  Um---I don't think so!  Not at a regular mail price that is as far as I know.  (I also noticed that their email etc and their registered country is the UK BUT their ebay AND PP addy is--Russia)  Hmmmmm

I also was kind of peeved to get an email from ebay asking WHAT THE PROBLEM was with my recent purchase of---string.  Something that I am sure I rushed right off and left Pos FB for.  But even if I did NOT leave FB right that nano-second I WAS offended --as a SELLER---at the TONE of this missive practically DEMANDING that I file a COMPLAINT against my seller!  There was a LINK to the REPORT A PROBLEM WITH THIS PURCHASE section---now really--if I HAD a problem wouldn't I have already DONE this?  And why would you automatically ASSUME that there was a problem?  And rub the buyers nose in it?   Bear in mind that this was an UNDER $5 purchase of---decorative TWINE.  But--I sell high end sportswear and I am constantly worried about buyers complaining about the most RIDICULOUS things--and I have to WONDER--how MANY of these complaints are driven by JUST SUCH emails?  

The implication here was that there MUST be a problem--and that the buyer would be made "Whole" by ebay if they only clicked on REPORT A PROBLEM.

I resent this.  And I suspect that every late package--"late" being a definition of ebays schedual--will garner more grief for sellers due to these sorts of emails.    

Perminate Link for Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?   Christmas Day - Did You Get Your Online Packages in Time?

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Thu Dec 27 12:35:38 2012

@Comet
OH boy, I totally agree with you about eBay's 'you did not leave feedback so there must be a problem' emails!

IMO, the tone of these emails would leave a buyer to believe that eBay is just overwhelmed with problem items & sellers. But hey, 'tell eBay your problem (real or imaginary) and eBay will make it better because we know there is a high chance you'll have a bad experience!'

If eBay would like to establish credibility and trust with buyers - they should rethink the tone and insinuation of those emails. It is like being around someone who apologizes ALL the time - you want to avoid them!


On the shipping front, no problems at all with USPS packages, either incoming or outgoing.

My son in the military did all his shopping from ''over there'' and bought from Apple & Amazon.

All packages arrived rather quickly, with one exception. One Amazon package never arrived, but after investigating he found it never got sent because he had changed his password shortly before he placed that order. They could not contact him to verify it was indeed him, so due to security precaution they did not charge his card or ship the item.  

Since military folks are frequently targeted for identity theft, I appreciate that Amazon security was on its toes.



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