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2019 Holiday Shipping Deadlines Retailers Must Know [Free Downloadable Schedule]

Introduction

As the holiday season nears, the eCommerce world spins faster than usual. Customers look forward to getting the best deals, shipping carriers strain at their capacities, and retailers run helter-skelter to ship parcels on time without succumbing to surcharges.

If you’re a retailer, this article is for you! 

Get access to all the critical data you need to plan your delivery game this holiday season. Data like important shipping dates, popular products on particular days, effective short-term marketing techniques, and sales data.

2019 Holiday Season Top Sales Days

Halloween – October 31

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average American is expected to spend around $87 on occasion of this costume and candy-themed holiday. 

Most people are expected to spend money on candy, costumes, decorations, and greeting cards.

The Ideal marketing techniques for Halloween include hanging out Halloween-themed decor outside your brick-and-mortar store and conducting games and contests on social media: for example, an online trick-or-treat game or a ”come up with a funny-horror story” contest.

Offer prizes for these to keep engaging your audience.

The average American is expected to spend around $87 on Halloween 2019.

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Thanksgiving Weekend: November 28 – December 2

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday

This harvest festival is one of the biggest shopping and eCommerce festivals of the year. 

Thanksgiving shopping is not confined to a single day. Thanksgiving is followed by Black Friday on the 29th, Small Business Saturday on the 30th, and Cyber Monday on the 2nd of December. 

Consumers are expected to spend around $23.4 billion during this period, which is 19.7% more than what they spent last year.

While Thanksgiving is the best day to find online discounts on sporting goods, computers, apparel, and video games, Black Friday itself is the best day for online deals on TVs, tablets, and jewelry.

As a retailer, your eCommerce store is expected to make more of an impact than your brick-and-mortar store with increased website visit times and a better return frequency.

With 57% of retail visits expected to come from mobile devices, you can send topical emails a few weeks ahead informing customers about your various promotions and also have an effective promotional landing page and a countdown timer running on your website.

Thanksgiving is the best day to find online discounts on sporting goods, computers, apparel, and video games.

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Christmas, followed by Boxing Day: December 24 – 26

The end-of-year holidays are a gold mine for retailers. 

Anything can make a great Christmas present, which means that just like with Black Friday, no retailer can afford to sit out the greatest shopping event of the year.

US Shoppers tend to spend more than $1 trillion on Christmas Shopping with over 61% of it directed toward clothing and the rest toward electronics and cash or gift cards. 

Be sure to maximize your sales with compelling PPC campaigns and combine Christmas-themed ads with strong CTAs that will really draw in your customers. 

You should be doing this at least 6 weeks before the 25th of December. 

Boxing Day is celebrated widely in the UK and former British colonies. 

As far as shipping is concerned, it is a big deal, especially for those who received vouchers on Christmas Day.  A lot of users outside of the States look to exchange unwanted Christmas presents and get far better deals on Boxing Day. 

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New Year: December 31 and January 1

The last day of the year is usually celebrated with social gatherings that often include dancing, eating, drinking, and watching fireworks. 

If you’re dealing in a Resto-Bar, this might just be your evening. 

Unlike the other holidays mentioned above, New Year’s Eve is not the best eCommerce event in the holiday shopping season.

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Shipping in the holiday season is a risky business. Coming out unscathed with your shipping game this season can be a challenge. 

You can prepare yourself for this risk by simply realizing the hard-truths about your holiday shipping.

While knowing what’s coming will prepare you for the battle, knowing the ‘when’ factor will help you to arm yourself with the right weapons for an easy win.

To make things simpler for your business, we’ve noted important holiday-season dates for UPS & FedEx and presented them to you as a downloadable schedule.

UPS Holiday Schedule

As the shopping season is at its peak, shipping options may be limited because of the surge in volume. 

UPS recommends that retailers start their sales a tad bit earlier in order to have a smooth holiday season. It is also important to take note of UPS peak surcharges.

Thanksgiving 

November 27Next Day Air service pickups on the day will be delivered on Friday the 29th. All packages on 2nd Day Air will only be delivered on the 2nd of December (except those which are processed for delivery on the 30th of November). 

November 28 – There will be no pickup or delivery service on Thanksgiving day (except for the Critical service).  

November 29 –  There will be slight modifications to Next Day Air and Worldwide Express Plus with an expected commitment time of 90 minutes. 

All other UPS Air and international Air services will be extended to the end of the day (the ground service modification will still be in effect).

Christmas 

December 22Only the Critical service will be available.

December 23 – This is the last day to send UPS Next Day Air packages scheduled for delivery on Tuesday, December 24. 

December 24 – Only the packages which were prearranged on December 19th will be picked up. The UPS On-Call Pickup service and UPS Drop Boxes will be available for Air and international Air packages.

December 25 – Only the Critical service will be available.  

December 26 – UPS 2nd Day Air packages picked up on the day will be scheduled for delivery on Monday, December 30. UPS 3 Day Select packages picked up on the day will be scheduled for delivery on Thursday, January 2.

New Year

December 29 – Only the Critical service will be available. 

December 30 – UPS Next Day Air packages picked up on the day will be scheduled for delivery on Tuesday, December 31. 2nd Day Air packages picked up on the day will be scheduled for delivery on Thursday, January. 2 and 3 Day Select packages picked up on the day will be scheduled for delivery on Monday, January 6.

December 31 –  Only the packages which were pre-arranged by Friday, December 27 will be picked up. The UPS On-Call Pickup service and drop boxes will be available for Air and International Air packages. 

Delivery on the day will take place only for UPS Air and International Air packages. Air service modifications will be in effect on the day and commitment times for UPS Air and international Air shipments will be extended as follows:

  • UPS Next Day Air Early and UPS Worldwide Express Plus: extended 90 minutes
  • All other UPS Air and international Air services: extended to the end of the day

January 01, 2020 – Only the Critical service will be available.

January 2, 2020 – Normal UPS services will resume.

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FedEx Holiday Schedule

Thanksgiving

November 27 – FedEx Office will close by 6 p.m. The FedEx Money-Back Guarantee for FedEx Express shipments will be suspended for shipments delivered within 90 minutes of the published delivery commitment time.

November 28 – Per Money-Back Guarantee, shipments scheduled for delivery on a holiday will be delivered the next business day. 

Only FedEx Custom Critical will be available.

November 29 – There will be early on-call pickups and drop box closings in some areas for FedEx Express. FedEx Freight will be unavailable.

Christmas

December 22 – FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Home Delivery, FedEx SmartPost, FedEx Freight, FedEx Office, and FedEx Trade Networks will be unavailable. Only Custom Critical will be available.

December 23 – Normal service will resume. FedEx Freight will be open with normal pickup and delivery operations and a modified linehaul schedule. Shipments picked up that are not moved will resume transit on the next normal operating day. 

December 24 –  There will be early on-call pickups and drop box closings in some areas for FedEx Express. FedEx Office will close by 6 p.m.

December 25 – FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Home Delivery, FedEx SmartPost, FedEx Freight, FedEx Office, and FedEx Trade Networks will be unavailable. Only FedEx Custom Critical will be available.

December 26 – Normal service will resume. 

New Year

December 29 – FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Home Delivery, FedEx SmartPost, FedEx Freight, FedEx Office, and FedEx Trade Networks will not be available. Only Custom Critical will be available.

December 30 – Normal service will resume.

December 31 – FedEx Express stations, on-call pickups, and drop boxes will close early in some areas. 

FedEx Home Delivery will not be available, while FedEx Freight will be open with only pre-arranged pickup and delivery shipments being made.

January 1 – FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Home Delivery, FedEx SmartPost, FedEx Freight, FedEx Office, and FedEx Trade Networks will not be available. Only Custom Critical will be available.

January 2 – Normal service will resume.

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Conclusion

The Holiday season is a great way to build your brand, target your audience, and drive sales. 

Look for ways to participate without being left out. Put on your marketer’s hat and plan your marketing campaigns ahead of time to avoid last-minute issues and get better results. 

Keeping important holiday season dates and  shopper mindsets in mind is a great advantage as it helps to narrow down your ideal target audience and tailor your marketing message specifically, ensuring that your message catches attention.

What is also important is that your business stays strong in the last mile. 

At LateShipment.com, our focus has remained steadfastly on the last mile, typically the part of the logistics chain that is the most opaque. Since our inception, our state-of-the-art algorithms have tracked over 100 million parcels.

Some of our high-impact offerings are:

  • Automating refund claims from your shipping carriers for service failures to help you save money on shipping.
  • Giving you full control over delivery delays that harm your brand and sales. You can now predict parcel delays and even fix them by keeping customers informed.
  • Reporting at every stage of “shipping & delivery” to enable you with critical supply-chain insights.

The value we add to businesses is most evident when experienced first-hand. Learn more about our solution here.

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Do you have specific questions or concerns about the holiday season? Drop us a message and our logistics expert will be in touch with you within 48 hours.

Sashank Ravindranath

Sashank Ravindranath

An Aficionado of movies and series, who will literally watch anything to kill time. Additional information includes a Superhero Savant and Comic Book Cognoscente, who has found a new passion in writing.

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