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.

[VIDEO] Sustainability-Focused Sifted Software Demo

[VIDEO] Sustainability-Focused Sifted Software Demo

The transportation industry is at a global tipping point. Sustainability is no longer a nice to have…it’s a must ...
Read More >
[INFOGRAPHIC] The Fuel Surcharge Reality You Can’t Unsee

[INFOGRAPHIC] The Fuel Surcharge Reality You Can’t Unsee

The Reality FedEx and UPS have upped their ground fuel surcharges 9 times in the first 90 days of 2022 - and the ...
Read More >
[VIDEO] The Road to Sustainable Shipping

[VIDEO] The Road to Sustainable Shipping

Did you know that the transportation sector poses a serious problem to the planet? In fact, 29% of all domestic ...
Read More >
Shipping Greener: Carbon Neutrality and Certification

Shipping Greener: Carbon Neutrality and Certification

Sustainable shipping isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for your business. Get started on the path to carbon neutrality today with our eco-friendly shipping guide.
Read More >
What Your Shipping Carbon Footprint Means and How to Calculate It

What Your Shipping Carbon Footprint Means and How to Calculate It

Keeping your shipping sustainable while reducing carbon emissions doesn't have to be complicated! And it starts by measuring your carbon footprint. Here's what you need to know as a parcel shipper.
Read More >
Consumer Report: How much do shoppers care about eco-friendly shipping?

Consumer Report: How much do shoppers care about eco-friendly shipping?

It’s no surprise; consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious. They’re taking reusable bags to the ...
Read More >
What is Logistics Intelligence?

What is Logistics Intelligence?

Every business wants to offer fast delivery, constant product availability, and excellent customer service. ...
Read More >
15 Things You Need to Know About Reverse Logistics

15 Things You Need to Know About Reverse Logistics

What Is Reverse Logistics? A clear reverse logistics process for returned products is essential whether you run ...
Read More >
Shipping Insights: LTL vs. Parcel Shipping

Shipping Insights: LTL vs. Parcel Shipping

Shippers should always be on the hunt for optimization and cost-reducing shipping methods. And one way to ensure ...
Read More >
Beyond the Trend: Blockchain Technology and Parcel Shipping

Beyond the Trend: Blockchain Technology and Parcel Shipping

Blockchain is driving profound positive change in the parcel industry. Based on transparency, trust, and traceability - blockchain technology brings new opportunities for managing shipping, supply chains, identity management, plus more.
Read More >
How 3D Printing Is Transforming Parcel Shipping

How 3D Printing Is Transforming Parcel Shipping

We know what you’re thinking. 3D printing? What does that have to do with parcel shipping? Well, more than you ...
Read More >
Autonomous Delivery: The Future of Last Mile

Autonomous Delivery: The Future of Last Mile

No drivers. No passengers. Just faster delivery. Yep, autonomous delivery is all about robots. Last mile ...
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.