Holiday Shipping 2018 : Finally A Strategy That Can Help Retailers Thrive This Season

Holidays are here. The maddening chaos of holiday shipping is no more a distant threat. The shipping volume, going by FedEx and UPS stats has grown 3 times compared to last year. Which means another disastrous shipping year for retailers is looming ahead. Retailers were not prepared then(2017), and they can’t possibly be ready this year. Unless they radically change their approach towards holiday last-mile logistics.

Here are a few tips to get you started on weaving a new strategy this year:

You Can’t Repeat the Past

you cant repeat the past gif

This may seem like a no-brainer. However, reading, analyzing and understanding past shipping trends, consumer behavior and order distribution patterns make a world of difference when building your shipping game plan. For example, according to the Deloitte 2018  Holiday report, 77% of online shoppers would prefer a brand that offers free shipping. Moreover, 75% of the shoppers find free shipping promotions quite appealing and are swayed towards making a purchase. Not to forget Target’s free 2-day shipping with no minimum purchase announcement that dealt a blow to e-commerce giants such as Amazon and Walmart. Adding shipping cost to deliveries or springing a surprise at the time of order check out is almost a crime now.

appealing holiday promotional offers

Also sample this: From our own experience of tracking 75 million packages we found that order delays during the holiday period have only increased consistently between 2% and 4% Y.O.Y. An easy remedy to handle this situation would be to pad your delivery promises to include forecasted delivery exceptions.

Dare to unhinge from conventional shipping choices

Ground deliveries may have been your staple. But guess what FedEx and UPS have suspended all guarantees for ground delivery delays during holidays. There is no way they are going to own up to delivering orders on time. And given the surge in order volume and past holiday performances, you can expect 8-10% delays in the ground order deliveries.

Is your business willing to take that kind of risk?

Consider this before you answer.

taking to social media on bad delivery

Clearly, the risk of losing customers outstrips a few cents you might save on using a cheaper shipping alternative. That leaves you with only one choice. You have to ship your orders using an expedited service.

If you decide to use expedited services, would you choose priority or time-definite services?

Can your business afford an expensive shipping service?

What are the chances of late deliveries despite using a premium service?

These questions are not meant to zap you out. But to bring perspective to your shipping strategy.

With the help of aggregated data and predictive tools, it is no longer challenging to make such critical logistics decisions. Disseminating carefully UPS, FedEx shipping information and delay trends it is possible to weigh the odds and make the right shipping service choice.

Benchmark to succeed

Evaluating your analysis of consumer behaviour and buying patterns against others in the industry is a great way to win more sales this holiday season. Consumers are creatures of habit. Using technology to creating an amazing shopping experience will only increase their chances of opting for your brand over and over again. Align your strategies with the industry norm and usual expectations.

Do shoppers wait until the last minute to make a purchase or do they choose to buy way ahead of the holidays?

What part of the holiday season sees a huge influx of orders?

According to the Deloitte Holiday Survey Report, 39% of shoppers complete their purchases by the end of October. Around Thanksgiving though, it is an equal split.

early shoppers outspend late shoppers

What are the blockbusters this year? What percentage of sales is your industry bound to expect? Looks like gift cards remain a popular gift choice seconded by clothing.

gifting percentage

Depending on the findings, you could tie up with a local carrier to get your last minute orders delivered on time. You could also devise a strategy to have a mix of global and local carriers to cater to the demands of your customer base.

Go all in, move fast and break some eggs

go break some eggs gif

Except without a data-backed last-mile delivery strategy, your business will simply be careening out of control. We understand it is impossible to gather, assimilate and dig deep into shipping data leave alone programmatically map and predict delivery tactics that will serve you this holiday season when you are neck-deep in holiday sales. At, we have put together a report on Holiday shipping that offers exhaustive information as well as laser-focused findings that could be directly applied to your 2018 shipping plan. The report draws a comparison between shipping service types, FedEx and UPS across geographies to give you an idea of the state of holiday shipping in the US. It also highlights our algorithmic predictions for holidays 2018.

Grab a copy of’s 2018 Holiday report and supercharge your holiday shipping this season!

Get a copy of LateShipment Holiday Report 2018

Revathi Karthik

Revathi Karthik

Product Marketer, Customer Advocate, Unrepentant Book Hoarder

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