Still Waiting to Start Shopping? Delivery Experts Share 5 Tips On How to Avoid Delays and Fees This Holiday
Despite concerns about a holiday plagued by out of stock items and shipping delays, many U.S. consumers are just now beginning to shop in earnest for the holidays. Yet according to Convey by project44, a leader in Delivery Experience Management for more than 200 of the world’s leading retailers, shoppers need to rethink old habits for the reality of the 2021 season.
“Despite nearly universal admonitions to shop early, many people are still waiting to buy. Free, fast, on-time delivery is still the expectation, so shoppers will need to adjust behavior and in many cases expectation to minimize frustration and disappointment.”
“Convey by project44 has been tracking holiday shipping, last mile deliveries, and consumer preferences for the past 5 years, and holiday 2021 is shaping up to be a season like no other,” said Kassidy Bird, senior director of marketing at Convey by project44. “Despite nearly universal admonitions to shop early, many people are still waiting to buy. Free, fast, on-time delivery is still the expectation, so shoppers will need to adjust behavior and in many cases expectation to minimize frustration and disappointment.”
5 New Rules for Holiday 2021
Shoppers who postpone holiday shopping until Black Friday or later – an estimated ⅔ of all Americans according to a recent Bank of America survey – need to be prepared to navigate not only bare shelves, but also be careful that items they CAN find show up under the tree on time, and without breaking the bank.
Today, Convey by project44 released consumer guidelines, “Procrastination Nation” Should Use Alternatives to Last-Minute Holiday Shipping — Or Face Late Deliveries”, on how to navigate an unprecedented holiday shopping in 2021:
Buy American: Items made in America are going to be in greater supply this holiday. Goods from China and overseas are getting clogged up in the supply chain and less likely to be available to purchase and ship.
Add 2+ extra days for shipping: While Fedex, UPS and the US Postal Service’s shipping deadlines are similar to last year, consumers should take those guidelines with a grain of salt. Carriers are already entering peak holiday season slower this year than last (78% overall On-time Performance in Oct. 2021 vs. 82% in Oct. 2020), so Convey by project44 advises that shoppers add at least 2 days to whatever delivery date the shipper gives you.
Cluster purchases – online or in store – to save cash: Even if shoppers are lucky enough to find items, chances are they’re going to pay more for shipping. The post office, FedEx, and UPS have all rolled out surcharges ranging as high as $5 per parcel. Shoppers who don’t want to pay for shipping, or risk packages not arriving in time, should consider shopping in-store or using BOPIS (Buy Online Pickup In-Store) to avoid shipping costs. Shoppers can also cluster or group purchases together in a single order to meet “free shipping” thresholds which are expected to be higher than ever this season.
If the clock is running out, skip “double shipping.” Send presents to distant friends and relatives directly via the retailer, instead of taking the delivery, wrapping the items by hand, and shipping them again.
Opt for a gift card. Digital gift card sales rocketed 80% year-over-year in 2020, and this year they’re among the top 3 most requested gifts — making them both popular and a practical alternative to physical goods. If your loved ones have their hearts set on a particular item, a gift card to cover its cost can tide them over until after the holiday crunch.
“With a little extra effort, shoppers can still find ways to delight their loved ones and get packages to their destinations on time,” said Bird. “Patience and planning can go a long way to ensuring the holidays are merry and bright.”