Shipageddon: Is Your Business Ready for Procrastinating Online Shoppers This Holiday Season? 

| November 19, 2020

With the surge of online shopping, parcel companies are dealing with an unexpected capacity shortage that will be further exacerbated by online holiday shopping. This may be good news for local businesses who can capture consumers shopping too late in the season to take advantage of online delivery.  

By Monica Longoria, Senior Insights Strategist, TEGNA 

If you’ve sent or received a package in the last few months, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced delivery delays. The recent surge in online shopping has made it difficult for parcel companies to meet standard delivery expectations. During the pandemic, they have been operating at near-maximum capacity, and it takes years of planning to start up new facilities to boost that capacity. With the holiday season being the busiest time of year for delivery networks, this problem is only going to get worse. 

Jason Goldberg, the chief commerce strategy officer at Publicis, has creatively coined this pending chaos as ‘Shipageddon‘. 

How Bad Will ‘Shipageddon’ Be? 

A survey by Fluent Pulse asked U.S. consumers when they plan to do most of their holiday shopping. Only 21% plan to do so before Thanksgiving. That’s a problem because according to ShipMatrix, “the capacity shortfall could average as much as 7 million packages a day between Thanksgiving and Christmas.” For comparison, the shortfall during the same period in 2019 was only 2.5 million a day. 

How Can My Business Prepare? 

  1. Evaluate Your Holiday Inventory. With typical inventory planning being disrupted by the pandemic and economic uncertainty, businesses have less merchandise stocked than usual for the holidays. Ensure you attain stock of key holiday items that should be in high demand.  
  1. Promote In-Store & Curbside Pickup. A recent Google survey found that 53% of holiday shoppers will choose to shop at stores that offer contactless shopping. Further, 47% plan to use the option to buy online and pickup in-store / curbside. This is a great solution for customers who want the safety of online ordering but the efficiency of local pickup.  
  1. Partner with Couriers for Local Deliveries. With parcel companies overwhelmed with orders, they may cap deliveries during peak demand. An alternative is sending orders from local stores to customers via couriers working for companies like Instacart and Shipt. 
  1. Plan Your Shipping Process. According to a survey from CommerceNext, 63% of merchants are concerned about consumer expectations of fast, free delivery coupled with shippers charging peak-season surcharges. The concern is justified as 83% of consumers surveyed cited free shipping as the promotion most appealing to them this year.  

If you currently sell merchandise online, establish shipping expectations up front with your customers: 

– Decide if you will offer free shipping 

– Set a minimum order size to qualify for free shipping (if offered) 

– Set a cut-off date for delivery by Christmas 

– Set an expectation for how quickly orders will ship 

How TEGNA Can Help Your Business Reach Its Holiday Goals 

With all the preparations in place, the next step is communicating your holiday plans, and that’s where TEGNA comes into play. With 63 television stations in 51 U.S. markets, we can help your brand get the word out about free shipping offers, how your brand’s holiday shipping will work, or how your brand plans to help the community in a holiday season that is going to be unlike any other.  

TEGNA delivers innovative, integrated marketing campaigns via local TV news broadcast, OTT, and digital platforms so your brand can reach a critical audience – on any screen, any time, anywhere. Find out what partnering with TEGNA can do for your brand and connect with us today! 

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