The holidays might be over but the package returns season is in high gear. It kicked off in mid-December, shortly after the first wave of holiday deliveries, and is expected to run through most of this month.
It’s the week before Thanksgiving, when attention turns to travel, favorite family recipes, overeating, and, of course, package delivery.
That’s right. Cyber Monday is right around the corner and predictions put this year’s spend at roughly $3.8 billion in sales. And with an expected jump in online sales of 18-21 percent over the entire holiday season, the U.S. Postal Service is preparing for a 10 percent increase in the number of packages it will deliver (to 850 million) between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
As an online shopper, the world is your oyster. You can pretty much order anything from nearly anywhere in the world for delivery to your home, or in some cases, to wherever you direct the package. And increasingly, consumers are getting these deliveries at a reasonable cost and with plenty of visibility along the way.
For the major express companies, preparation for the next holiday season started right after the last one ended. If you’re one of the many Americans whose packages arrived after Santa did last year, you are undoubtedly glad to hear this. In 2013, an unexpected surge in online orders, combined with winter storms and sparse airplane capacity, resulted in FedEx and UPS missing deliveries for Christmas.
As online shopping has become the norm for many Americans, it has brought operational changes to both brick-and-mortar retailers and online retailers. Shipping costs are now a major consideration for companies. Retailers are working to control their shipping costs as their ebusiness grows, with the traditional retailers relying on their extensive network of stores to reduce shipping costs. Instead of shipping goods from centralized warehouses to far-flung customers, major retailers, such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Gap Inc., deliver from stores close to their customers whenever possible.