US Retailers change holiday shipping cut-off dates to meet expectations

Many US retailers have switched or are yet to finalise online order deadlines for guaranteed arrival by Christmas according to Stella Service, a company that measures customer service performance.

Retailers are either not promoting a deadline or they are changing cut-off dates as the holiday approaches to ensure Christmas arrival or manage customer’s expectations.

Target’s website originally said December 20 would be the last day to order online for delivery by Christmas, but the date was later removed according to Stella Service.

Ralph Lauren meanwhile advertised December 21 as the cut-off date, but Stella Service tracked a change last week to December 19.

Other retailers have finalised their cut-off dates and are guaranteeing speedy delivery. Stella Service says of the retailers it tracks, Nordstrom has the latest date and will accept orders until December 23 for standard shipping on specific merchandise.

Last season bad weather and poor forecasting of online demand prevented millions of packages from making it to shoppers by Christmas Eve.

Stella Service’s vice president of research, Kevon Hills, said retailers are now being cautious in order to prevent disappointed shoppers and protect brand reputation.

According to an Accenture shopping survey timely shipping is now a key concern for consumers with 50% worried about receiving Christmas packages on time.

Across the supply chain there is a focus on managing online shoppers’ expectations. Courier and logistics providers UPS and Federal Express have both reviewd and ramped up services. FedEx increased its seasonal hires 25% to 50,000, and UPS upgraded its delivery system and increased its seasonal workers by 12% to 95,000. The US Postal service is offering delivery every day of the week up to Christmas Day

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