Shipping carrier auditor LateShipment.com predicts that the average delay rate across the U.S. will be approximately 9%, but that rate could reach or surpass 16.5% in some states, according to a recent report.
The report predicts delays will increase in 2019 due to worsening weather. And for those in densely populated cities and rural areas with limited connectivity, LateShipment.com suggests that those areas may experience a higher rate of delivery delays.
LateShipment.com anticipates that early morning and overnight shipping options will perform worse despite their higher costs. The firm also expects FedEx will do better than usual after cutting ties with Amazon.
Fulfillment is increasingly becoming a critical part of the holiday season for retailers as more consumers buy gifts online. For consumers who don't use or aren't offered buy online, pick up in-store services, deals on shipping may become more important to them. The United States Postal Service expects to deliver about 800 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Meanwhile, Amazon has expanded its delivery fleet and hired 200,000 employees to help with its peak season deliveries.
These recent expansions stem, in part, from consumers' increasing desire to have quick and cheap shipping options. Amazon has influenced retailers to step up their shipping options to compete, thus speeding up the race to meet consumer demand.
But even the e-commerce giant isn't immune from delivery delays. Amazon last week blamed winter storms and high demand for some customers experiencing shipping delays, according to a Recode report. On Friday, however, Amazon's Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Dave Clark tweeted that the company has "re-balanced capacity and it's all systems go now."
Seen a few reports that saying we’re having delivery problems. Not the case. Some deliveries were briefly impacted by weather earlier in the week but we quickly re-balanced capacity and it’s all systems go now. Thanks to our customers for what looks to be another big holiday.????????— Dave Clark (@davehclark) December 6, 2019
During last year's holiday season, 8.44% of shipments didn't reach their destination on time, per the LateShipment.com report. To manage consumer expectations, the report recommends that retailers keep an eye on actions that can upset loyal customers and use their predictive delivery tools to inform consumers ahead of time.
"Communicating with customers, especially in the post-purchase phase, builds trust, loyalty and credibility," LateShipment.com notes in its report. "[Customer] engagement in the last mile, right from the point of order pickup till its delivery at a customer's doorstep, demonstrates your commitment to quality customer service."