Will Shipping & the Supply Chain Bring Bah Humbug to the Holidays?

There’s been a lot of shipping and supply chain news for eCommerce brands to digest the past few weeks:

All of these unprecedented industry disruptions are sure to have a profound impact on the traditional peak holiday sales period. And the news keeps coming…

eCommerce Holiday Sales Predictions

First, some positive news. eCommerce sales are expected to be up 7.6% over last year (!!) according to Mastercard, and Deloitte says there could be up to a 9% spike.

On a more somber note, consumers are returning to early-COVID buying habits due to an increase in cases from the Delta Variant. While that is concerning, it’s sure to add to the predicted increase in eCommerce sales vs. in person retail once again this holiday season.

Shipping News

Now for some interesting (and surprising) news. First, Amazon surpassed FedEx in volume of parcels during 2020. Putting aside the revenue disparity noted by Pitney Bowes, this is a remarkable, even if somewhat expected, development that we have been signaling for some time.

Amazon Just Blocked Sellers From Using FedEx – What You Need to Know
FedEx Surprises Amazon with Contract Cancellation

Amazon trails only USPS & UPS in total volume…not bad for a newcomer to parcel shipping.

Amazon to Dominate Marketing Next?

In an unrelated, but eye catching bit of marketing intrigue, Amazon is attempting to take over the iconic billboard at Macy’s Herald Square. Yes, that is the huge sign you see during the Thanksgiving Parade each year.

USPS to Slow Deliveries

For the next bit of significant news, last week the USPS announced changes that will slow delivery times and increase rates. This is yet another predictable development building on trends from earlier this year.

There’s no doubt this will cause headaches for eCommerce brands as they head into their busiest time of year facing longer lead times and higher freight costs throughout the holiday season. Will consumers understand the pressures? Given that nobody likes to pay more for slower service, we’ll be interested to see how this unfolds.

eCommerce Holiday Takeaways and Advice

Our takeaway? This holiday shopping season is shaping up to be the biggest ever. The greatest challenges, stemming from shipping and supply chain issues, include shortages of saleable goods, higher rates to ship, slow delivery times and pain points at every step of the supply chain path.

Will eCommerce Brands (and more importantly, their consumers) be happy?

Our best advice to eCommerce brands: Set expectations on delivery times. Encourage customers to shop early! Run email and marketing campaigns that support the importance of shopping earlier than ever this year if customers want their products on time.

Our best advice to consumers: Shop early and get your packages delivered as soon as possible.

Need help getting your order fulfillment process in order? Freestyle and MOM can help. Reach out today.