Home Business Beat: Is it really all on UPS?

Business Beat: Is it really all on UPS?


The demand for last-minute Christmas package delivery outstripped UPS’ ability to deliver everything on time. The impact: thousands of unhappy shoppers may reconsider their Christmas shopping habits next year.

economic-forecast-headerThis after a year that saw online Christmas sales grow 10 percent, to $42.75 billion, according to ComScore.com.

More and more people every day go online to do their shopping. Christmas is problematic because, like, say, a birthday or anniversary, the date is set in stone for the shopper. Unlike birthdays or anniversaries, though, which are spread out for consumers across the year, Christmas is a set day, and gifts not delivered on time aren’t considered gifts at all by many.

Online retailers like Amazon and Kohl’s are trying to make up for the problems with delivery with gift cards and reimbursements, which is just good customer service.

What they’re not doing is saying what some of us are thinking: namely, hey, if you wait until the last minute to buy a Christmas gift, and it doesn’t get there on time, aren’t you at least somewhat to blame?

Maybe, but also to blame are retailers who tried to make up for what some in the retail industry called a “mediocre” Christmas season by extending their order cutoffs for Christmas delivery to Dec. 24. Yep, Christmas Eve.

Expect UPS to spend some time figuring this out before the 2014 Christmas shopping season, in concert with their friends in retail. The problem isn’t one that throwing a little more money into seasonal help to increase the delivery capacity couldn’t resolve.

Also expect online sales next Christmas season to continue trending upward. This is a genie that’s never going back in the bottle.

Column by Chris Graham



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