UPS’ Shipping Mishap: Damage To Retailers’ Future Holiday Seasons?

A further update from yesterday’s post, UPS says that “most packages will be delivered today.”  Two questions come to mind:

1. Why weren’t all of those packages delivered yesterday, as yesterday was a normal shipping day?

2. Why is it “most packages” and not “all packages”?

This goes to show that there was a much bigger backlog and much underestimation of how many online orders there would be late in the season than was previously thought.  As I mentioned yesterday, this oversight and system backlog really needs to be corrected and updated for next season, as the season is only one day longer than this year.  And, I think it’s safe to say that not only will people be ordering online late again (as they do virtually every season), but that there will likely be more online orders overall next year.

I read somewhere (can’t remember or find the source at the moment) that mobile orders are up 15% from 2012, quite a substantial jump.  While expecting a 15% increase Y/Y in 2014 is probably unlikely, expecting a mid-single digit to even around a 10% increase in 2014 is likely not out of the question, especially since all-time commerce is going to become even more prevalent in 2014.

All-time commerce is where a retailer (offline or online) can reach you from virtually anywhere because the retailers have sales channels across all devices, including television, desktop/laptop, and mobile (including both smartphone and tablet).  In addition, there will be different points of the sales funnel across all devices, whether that’s the consumer looking for information about a specific product, looking at reviews of that product, comparing prices across different retailers, or looking to purchase the product.

Tablet commerce, especially, is really ready to start exploding in 2014, further increasing the likelihood that mobile orders should see another sizable rise next year.  We’ve already seen signs of this in 2013, being that the average purchase price of transactions on tablets was higher than it was on smartphones.

This is all the more reason why retailers (offline and online) and shippers need to get this mishap fixed and the systems updated right away, as this trend of online shopping late in the season is only likely to increase in the coming years, especially since it’s so convenient for people to shop from virtually anywhere so long as they have an Internet connection.  It’s really in the best interests of retailers, shippers, and consumers that the problems that caused this shipping mishap to occur are correctly identified and addressed so that such a shipping scenario does not occur in 2014.

Otherwise, retailers may suffer the sting of not having as many orders coming through late in the season because, many people can’t do much late-season in-store shopping, and they won’t trust the online ordering process, which would result in fewer overall sales, and thus, a greater likelihood of retailers falling short of expected sales marks for the whole season.


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