We’re midway through November and the holiday shopping season is in full swing. As expected, many states have set some new safety guidelines, but fortunately, it seems most won’t affect small shops and retail businesses. It does, however, reinforce what we discussed in our last blog – that online shopping will be king this holiday season. Because of this, the biggest challenges retail businesses will be faced with this year are inventory issues and shipping delays.
It’s likely if you’ve done any online shopping over the course of the last several months, you’ve noticed significant delays in shipping. This is becoming all the more an issue as ordering volume increases with holiday shopping. According to EasyShip, here’s a general deadline guide to follow so your online gift orders are delivered in time for Christmas. It’s important to note that nothing is set in stone and these dates could change as we get close to the Holidays.
UPS Ground Shipping: Wednesday, December 16
UPS Next Day Air: Friday, December 18
UPS 2nd Day Air: Friday, December 18
UPS 3 Day Select: Saturday, December 19
FedEx Ground/Home Delivery: Saturday, December 19
FedEx Express Saver: Monday, December 21
FedEx 2Day: Tuesday, December 22
FedEx Overnight: Wednesday, December 23
USPS Retail Ground: Friday, December 16
First-Class Mail: Monday, December 21
Priority Mail: Monday, December 21
USPS Priority Mail Express: Tuesday, December 22
As consumers struggle with financial and health anxieties, it’s very difficult to try to predict their buying behavior this holiday season. Historical data just isn’t relevant this year. How we’re shopping and what we’re shopping for is very different than the last few years. In the first part of this blog, we talked about how consumers have made a return to tangible gifts over experience-based gifts. Something we do know, is that people are still shopping. According to Deloitte’s annual forecast, without another economic stimulus, spending will increase just 1% over last year, at the most.
It will be prudent for retailers to offer alternate options to standard shipping delivery, such as or local delivery and curbside pickup. Many small businesses will see a huge benefit to offering their own local delivery service. For example, you can offer a delivery service within a 10 mile radius of your store. Curbside Pickup has become a familiar practice for many retailers at this point. It’s convenient and safer for your customers as well as your employees. Providing these types of services can help business owners more efficiently manage the influx of online orders.
Retailers large and small have been forced to get creative over the last few months. Make sure you’re offering incentives for repeat business. Consider including a coupon or offer to use during January or February with every holiday gift purchase. This is a good measure to take to increase business in those slow, post-holiday months.
Stay tuned for our third and final installment!