Avoiding “Shipageddon” | 6 Things You Can Do to Keep Customers Happy

by | Nov 3, 2020

4 min read

Even in a typical holiday season, consumer fervor to get their gifts in time is sky-high. And keeping up can feel nearly impossible — until you can finally breathe a sigh of relief in January.

But this is 2020, so, of course, it’s going to be way, way worse. Some are even calling it “Shipageddon.”

Everywhere you look, pundits are predicting a holiday shopping season that will be largely digital. With health concerns keeping them out of stores, consumers are turning more to online shopping.

And that means more packages in the system. In fact, shipping volumes are expected to exceed capacity by 5% worldwide, possibly delaying up to 700 million holiday packages.

Holiday 2020 shopping statistics — and what they mean for shippers

Holiday 2020 shopping statistics — and what they mean for shippers

If these statistics don’t start your shipper’s heart racing, I don’t know what will: 

 

Why holiday 2020 shipping capacity will be an issue

Holiday shipping always strains carrier capacity, but thanks to the pressures of the pandemic, it’s going to be even more competitive this year. 

Carriers are warning of potential capacity shortfalls that could mean millions of packages are kept out of the network each day. One reported a 13.8% increase in volume in its latest quarterly earnings report, and another reported an increase as well. Both jumps are credited to the rise in residential deliveries driven by the pandemic. Some carriers encouraged shippers to shift volume earlier in the holiday season or even to avoid shipping when possible. 

 

What you can do to avoid shipping issues during the 2020 holiday season

If you’re an enterprise shipper, you might get some help from your carrier rep in planning the best days to get your trailers into the system, but what about small and medium-sized shippers? 

No matter your volume, there are steps you can take to mitigate the 2020 holiday shipping crunch.

1. Encourage your customers to shop sooner.
Do what you can to incentivize earlier holiday shopping. This is a great opportunity to work with your marketing department and other teams in your business to strategize messaging and discounts that will help you shift orders earlier in the season. But use caution! Don’t offer a deal that eats up your profits.

2. Be transparent with customers when they place their orders.
Consumers know by now that shipping in 2020 can be a guessing game for everyone involved, but 73% still want real-time tracking of their orders from your door to theirs. Be very clear about the fact that shipping times might vary from the estimates you provide and that you can’t guarantee expedited shipping, even if they pay for it. If you don’t have the technology to offer your customers shipment tracking in your own system, there are many services available that can help you keep customers informed.

3. Open the lines of communication with your current carrier.
Your carrier rep will be as helpful as they can, and making it clear that you have questions and need attention never hurts. Ask specifically about: 

  • Time in transit expectations
  • Capacity issues and updates
  • Contingency plans they have in place
  • Any situations in which they would not let your shipments into the network

4. Look into other carrier options.
It could be a good idea to explore your options — the sooner, the better. Ask about better rates, of course, but also compare time in transit and capacity with your current carrier. Don’t just stick to the major carriers. Check out LTL and regional carriers as well.

5. Consider alternatives to shipping directly to customers.
Buy-online-pickup-in-store, curbside pickup, and shipping to retail locations or lockers are all viable options in 2020. In order to get what they want and need for the holidays, many shoppers are willing to get out of the house — particularly if the pickup can be made safer by reducing contact. Nearly half of shoppers in a Google survey said they planned to use contactless and curbside services this holiday season.  

6. Keep an eye on your data.
Watch your KPIs daily to stay ahead of trouble. Don’t wait for loads of data to validate trends — look for concerning issues and make adjustments quickly where possible.

Of course, knowing your own data and what’s “normal” is the starting point for finding anything out of the ordinary. It will also help you when you talk to your carrier, so you can start the conversation from an educated place. 

 

Stay agile and look for the silver lining

Keeping your customers happy while also holding your costs down requires a positive, nimble attitude. Authenticity and transparency with both your customers and your carrier will go a long way. Be ready to act, and, hey, and look on the bright side — only 38% of shoppers intend to return purchases this year

Don’t let surcharges add to your budget troubles! Check out our latest eBook, 5 Budget-Busting Surcharges & How to Lower Them. You’ll learn what they cost you and how to get them under control.

Topics: eCommerce Shipping, Holiday Shipping, Infographics, Shipping Trends
Topics

Check out related resources at Sifted.

Monumental Rate Hikes: 2023 FedEx General Rate Increase (GRI) Analysis

Monumental Rate Hikes: 2023 FedEx General Rate Increase (GRI) Analysis

Another year of record-breaking carrier increases. FedEx just released a 6.9% 2023 General Rate Increase (GRI). ...
Read More >
Improving Inventory Accuracy: It’s Not as Difficult as You Think

Improving Inventory Accuracy: It’s Not as Difficult as You Think

What is inventory accuracy? Inventory accuracy is a metric that shows the difference between the amount of ...
Read More >
Everything You Need to Know About Parcel Shipping vs. Freight Shipping

Everything You Need to Know About Parcel Shipping vs. Freight Shipping

What is the definition of parcel? 59 million parcels are shipped daily in the United States alone, with numerous ...
Read More >
5 Ways Manufacturers Can Future-Proof Their Network for Greater Efficiency

5 Ways Manufacturers Can Future-Proof Their Network for Greater Efficiency

Over the past year, manufacturers’ durable goods shipments have risen by almost 12%, and new orders are up by 11%. ...
Read More >
How Same-day Delivery is Revolutionizing Parcel Logistics

How Same-day Delivery is Revolutionizing Parcel Logistics

Brief History of Parcel Logistics For thousands of years, goods transportation has played an important role in ...
Read More >
7 Parcel Shipping Companies: What’s Best for Your Business?

7 Parcel Shipping Companies: What’s Best for Your Business?

Things to Consider for Parcel Shipping Companies When it comes to selling online, finding the best parcel shipping ...
Read More >
Just How Bad Will 2023 General Rate Increases Be? Here Are Our Top Predictions

Just How Bad Will 2023 General Rate Increases Be? Here Are Our Top Predictions

Inflation, labor shortages, high fuel costs, and unprecedented demand for shipping capacity will all play a role ...
Read More >
When to Use Regional Parcel Carriers

When to Use Regional Parcel Carriers

Disruptions in the Parcel Sector The COVID-19 pandemic led to vast eCommerce supply chain and delivery service ...
Read More >
How Zone Skipping Can Transform Your Parcel Fulfillment Strategy

How Zone Skipping Can Transform Your Parcel Fulfillment Strategy

What is zone skipping? The high shipping cost of cross-country shipping is one of the biggest problems for ...
Read More >
6 Companies Innovating Eco-Friendly Packaging

6 Companies Innovating Eco-Friendly Packaging

What is considered sustainable packaging? Sustainable packaging uses packaging composed of materials that have a ...
Read More >
Everything You Need to Know About 4PLs

Everything You Need to Know About 4PLs

What is fourth-party logistics (4PL)? A 4PL or fourth-party logistics provider also referred to as a lead ...
Read More >
2022 Peak Season Surcharge Guide [FedEx, UPS, USPS, & Amazon]

2022 Peak Season Surcharge Guide [FedEx, UPS, USPS, & Amazon]

Christmas in…September? FedEx is making fast moves this year with their early Peak Season release. Some charges ...
Read More >

How Sifted Works

Connect to
your account

Sync
your data

Power your
dashboards

Get Your Logistics
Intelligence Demo

Strategic ways to prevent loss down the line

Services you could be utilizing right now for savings

Ways to cut material costs without cutting quality

Are you an FBM (fulfillment by merchant) Amazon seller?

Check out our Marketplace Intelligence solutions to protect your bottom line.

Shipping Insights & Alerts
Get updates and track the things impacting your business most

Decision Support
See how supply chain adjustments pay off before you pay out

Carrier Management
Streamline how you manage your carrier operations and contracts

Business Automation
Let software do what it does better than people can

Seller Insights
Measure and monitor with confidence.

Sales Visualization
Shed new light on your sales data.

Cost Impact Analyzer
Understand the impact of ever-changing FBA fees.

FBA Audit & Recovery
Secure money you’re owed from Amazon.

Blog
Discover news, tips, and industry best practices

DIM Weight Calculator
See how DIM is impacting you

Customer Stories
Learn how other brands use
Logistics Intelligence

Carbon Calculator
Calculate your CO2 Emissions

Guides
Download free reports and expert how-tos

Demo
Get a personalized tour of our software

Logistics Intelligence
For parcel shippers

Marketplace Intelligence
For Amazon FBA sellers