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How to Avoid Holiday Shipping Delays: 5 Tips for eCommerce Businesses

2022/11/29

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Just like the holiday shopping rush in malls, eCommerce businesses also experience a sharp spike in orders during the holidays. According to Retail Dive, 23% of global online sales in 2021 were from early November to late December. Like physical shopping’s long lines, eCommerce holiday shopping also has logistical problems.

Delayed deliveries are a common issue that customers complain about during the holidays. Stacking complaints from late deliveries can be a problem for your company. Know why holiday shipping delays happen and learn to avoid them by reading this guide.

What Causes Holiday Shipping Delays?

There are several interconnected reasons why shipping delays are so common during the holiday season.

  1. Labor shortages

    With the high increase in demand during the holidays, a courier service’s regular amount of staff might not have the capacity to deliver everything on time. Many employees go on vacation during this period, which can lead to even a lesser workforce handling many more orders than usual. 
  2. Inclement weather

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    According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), the November to December period falls right into the transition from the rainy to dry season, which means typhoons and rains are still common. The weather can severely increase traffic as cars slow down to avoid accidents, increasing road congestion.

    Also, weather disturbances can affect island-to-island transport due to flight and cargo shipping delays.
  3. Holiday traffic
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    Many people take their vacations during the holiday period. The number of cars on the streets increases significantly with this free time. More people go out to bars, restaurants, and malls, more people travel to their vacation destinations, and more people go holiday shopping. More cars mean more traffic, slowing down your couriers.
  4. Supply chain issues

As your business might struggle with the increased demand from holiday shoppers, your suppliers can also experience the same thing. Delays along the supply chain are common during this period. 

For example, ports can clog up with cargo due to the volume of deliveries. A postponement from your supplier can mean late deliveries to your customers.

Why Are Holiday Shipping Delays Bad?

As a business, you want to provide the best experience for your customers. It naturally includes making deliveries on time, but there’s a stronger emphasis on this during the holiday period. This practice improves customer conversion and retention, which are vital to growing your brand.

Delayed deliveries are already a frustrating experience for customers. It’s even more frustrating if that delivery is a gift that won’t make it on time because of shipping issues. 

Most purchases during the holidays are gifts, so a delay can mean disappointing both the customer and the gift recipient, potentially doubling the negative reputation your business would usually get from late delivery.

5 Tips for eCommerce Businesses to Avoid Delayed Deliveries

Now that you know the causes of shipping delays and how they can negatively impact your business, here are some tips to prevent them from happening to you.

  1. Stock up on shipping necessities

    It might go without saying, but if you’re expecting more orders, you should stock up on extra supplies well before you need them. Some examples of materials that you use with every purchase are packaging material, shipping stamps, and package labels. 

    Acquiring more materials mid-season can be hard, with other businesses scrambling to supply their own orders, so keep a healthy supply available.

    One of RUSH’s key features is the Pre-Order capability. This allows customers to place their orders days, weeks, and even months prior to delivery or pick-up. Turning this feature on gives merchants knowledge of what they need to prepare to fulfill orders and make customers happy.
  2. Secure the necessary labor force
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    As you can safely assume an increased demand during the holiday period, you should invest in extra workers for this time. You should either increase your contract with a courier service or contract out to a new one. 

    More hands in your packing and distribution centers can also help speed things along. This tip applies to big and small businesses, especially if your packaging has a personal touch, a popular strategy with eCommerce brands. 

    While the increased number of workers can be costly, the extra help in distributing your goods should more than makeup for the added costs.
  3. Look for inefficiencies in your process beforehand

    During your normal operations, observe your delivery process to see if there are any bottlenecks or inefficiencies. For example, your business might take a long time to package all your products, or maybe many of your sales sit in distribution centers, waiting for free riders. 

    Once identified, you can project how these inefficiencies might look under the increased volume during the holidays and address them ahead to avoid problems. For example, if the packaging process is slow, expect an even bigger bottleneck with higher orders and allocate more labor as necessary.

  4. Adjust shipping promises


    Gather and observe data during regular operations to see if the promised shipping dates are realistic. If you find your deliveries are often late, it might be that you’re not giving your employees enough time.

    Give your customers a heads-up regarding the influx of orders and the realistic delivery timeline. Giving yourself extra time means fewer customers are disappointed, and your employees are under less pressure.

  5. Give customers a way to track their orders
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Customers appreciate transparency. By giving your customers a way to see the delivery progress of their purchases, you can alleviate a lot of the anxiety from waiting that comes with online shopping. 

For example, customers of RUSH-powered brands can track their packages via the website. Partnering with Rush is convenient for your business to provide order tracking with no extra hassle.

Delay the Holiday Hassle and Deliver a Better Service!

The holiday season can be a stressful time for businesses. However, with the extra stress comes the chance for higher sales and profits. Take advantage of the opportunity by ensuring your shipping process is as efficient as possible!

Rush is an all-in-one eCommerce platform in the Philippines that can help you take your business to the next level! Contact our Sales Champs and book a demo today!

author-avatar
Jeff Alejandrino

COO at RUSH Technologies

Jeff Alejandrino is the Chief Operating Officer at RUSH Technologies - the go-to e-commerce services partner of every business in making digital easy, efficient, and effective in the Philippines. His past experiences include Business Development, Account Management and Partnership Management across different industries, from Banking, Service, and Food and Beverage. His pastime involves managing the family business. His interests vary from traveling and exploring new places to eat, to just staying at home watching series and movies.

author-avatar

Jeff Alejandrino

COO at RUSH Technologies

Jeff Alejandrino is the Chief Operating Officer at RUSH Technologies - the go-to e-commerce services partner of every business in making digital easy, efficient, and effective in the Philippines. His past experiences include Business Development, Account Management and Partnership Management across different industries, from Banking, Service, and Food and Beverage. His pastime involves managing the family business. His interests vary from traveling and exploring new places to eat, to just staying at home watching series and movies.

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