The holidays can be a make-or-break time for retailers: Disappoint a customer by failing to deliver a gift in time for Christmas, and you could risk losing their business forever.
Fortunately, most companies are now hyperconscious of this fact and invest significant time and resources in making sure they have the logistics infrastructure in place. In fact, according to the 2018 Holiday Shipping study from Kurt Salmon, part of Accenture Strategy, 93 percent of retailers delivered on their shipping guarantees this year. To measure their success, the management consulting firm placed orders with 52 retailers, including department stores, specialty stores, big-box retailers and online merchants.
“Delivering on shipping promises before Christmas is extremely challenging and has huge consequences for those that get it wrong,” Steve Osburn, managing director at Kurt Salmon, said in a statement. “With online sales continuing to rise, retailers have to ensure they are operationally robust to deliver on time, able to change direction at a moment’s notice and offer flexible delivery alternatives to avoid letting customers down.”
The study highlighted several retailers that managed to fulfill and deliver standard-shipping orders in just two or three business days, including Dillard’s, Macy’s, Timberland, Sephora and Best Buy (ordered on Dec. 20) and Under Armour, Lululemon, MM.LaFleur, Coach, L.L.Bean, Nordstrom and Zappos (ordered on Dec. 21). None could match the last-minute capabilities of Amazon Prime Now, however: the e-commerce behemoth’s same-day service was delivering within two hours right up until midnight on Christmas Eve.
While 33 percent of retailers didn’t post a shipping cutoff date at all, many touted their buy-online, pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) capabilities on Christmas Eve, including Kohl’s, Best Buy and Lowe’s, sidestepping any potential delays with overburdened logistics providers like UPS and Fedex while offering a chance for shoppers to do some extra shopping in stores while they pick up their orders.