The end of December is prime shopping and shipping time for holiday gifts. Shipping giant UPS calls this time of the year its peak season, and FedEx and the United States Postal Service also cite the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day as some of their busiest weeks. Jingling bells and Christmas carols once were the foremost sounds of the season, but now those noises have been replaced by the sounds of conveyor belts, trucks and airplanes rushing to get packages to their destinations.
According to research firm Forrester, online sales now account for 10 percent of all shopping and 15 percent of holiday shopping. USPS expects to deliver roughly 15 billion letters, cards and packages during the holiday season. While the postal service and the major packand ship companies are incredibly reliable, shoppers can take the following steps to further ensure their gifts arrive on time.
• Shop in-store. Choose off-peak hours, such as early morning and late evening, to visit brick-and-mortar stores. The crowds will not be too large, and you will have the added peace of mind knowing that you don’t need to wait for gifts to arrive via the mail. If you like the convenience of online shopping, shop online but take advantage of in-store pick-up when available. If items are in stock, this can save you the hassle of making your way through crowded stores.
• Follow cut-off dates. Many online retailers will post “purchase by” dates to ensure specific delivery times. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these dates so your items will arrive on time. If time is ticking away, you may have to pay more for expedited shipping.
• Avoid backordered items. Popular gifts may sell out quickly, and retailers could put you on backorder lists. Research similar products as potential backups should your primary choice be on backorder.
• Shop well in advance. Shopping early is the best way to ensure gifts arrive on time. Shopping early also gives shoppers time to make exchanges in the event an item is not up to par or is damaged.
Thanks to the popularity and prevalence of online shopping, it has become very important for shoppers to take shipping concerns into consideration before making purchases.
Metro Creative Services