What will Christmas on Sunday mean for last-minute deliveries?
The last-minute holiday rush is always a hectic time. And this year, with Christmas falling on a Sunday, retailers face extra challenges.
Speaking at a press event Monday at the offices of PR firm, Berns Communications Group, Kevon Hills, SVP, operations and insights at StellaService, described retailers he’s spoken to as “nervous” about meeting guaranteed Christmas delivery dates for last-minute online orders.
Back-office support staff at stores will have to be incentivized to work over the weekend to handle those last-minute online orders. Both of the major delivery service providers also need to ramp up weekend drivers to handle the surge in Christmas Eve and possibly Christmas deliveries. UPS and FedEx generally offer special delivery on Saturday, but don’t deliver on Sunday.
Mr. Hills said it is generally an “all hands on deck” time for stores and delivery service providers, but a missed Christmas delivery is a customer-service embarrassment.
“It’s always a delicate balance,” Mr. Hills said. “You want to squeeze as much juice as you can out of the holiday season without having the wheels fall off the bus.”
Stores may decide to adopt less-aggressive Christmas shipment deadlines. Consumers may see retailers raising the rates for expedited shipping if a greater need for overnight shipping or other steps are required.
Retailers may hold a shipment at the store for Christmas Eve rather than risk botching a last-minute shipment, although BOPIS execution faces its own challenges during busy store times.
UPS has said that since Christmas falls on Sunday, it will be advancing pickups and processing through the weekend prior to its peak delivery day — scheduled for Monday, Dec. 19 — to ensure timely deliveries.
FedEx Express will be delivering on Saturday (Christmas Eve), but it is not a service day for FedEx Ground. FedEx locations are being offered for as a delivery option for customers on Christmas Eve.
- 2015 Last-minute Shipping Deadlines: USPS, Target, FedEx, Walmart & More – New For Shoppers
- Abolish Abandon Rates For In-Store Pickup – Forrester
- UPS Forecasts Record-Breaking Holiday Shipments – UPS
- FedEx Anticipates Another Record Peak Holiday Shipping Season – FedEx
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: With the holiday falling on a Sunday, would stores be wise to become more conservative this year on their Christmas delivery deadlines? What obvious and less obvious risks does Christmas on Sunday create for retailers?