Many of those who had avoided the hassle of physical stores to do their holiday shopping have ended up paying the price by having not received their wares by Christmas. As things stand this year, a sizable number of consumers opted to let their computers do their holiday shopping, which has been pegged by the National Retail Federation at about 14 percent of all holiday sales in the US. This showed a 37 percent increase over the usual 6 percent that accounted for e-commerce during the year-end holiday rush.
As a result, almost all of the big name retailers in the US have been caught unaware of the fast changing consumer buying pattern. Wal-Mart, Amazon, Kohl’s and many others have struggled to deliver before Christmas and are making up the lapse by way of various incentives. However, to be fair to the retailers and couriers, other factors such as weather or delay in receiving the products from manufacturers also played a part.
Then there is the usual blame game too, with the US postal service blaming Amazon for not having readied the shipments on time. Amazon countered this, saying: “Amazon fulfillment centers processed and tendered customer orders to delivery carriers on time for holiday delivery.” Amazon further stated they have put performance of the carriers under the scanner.
Meanwhile, the incentives that the retailers have come up with to offset the lapse include a $20 gift card which accompanied the full refund of shipping charges of all orders that were delivered late. Groupon is offering a $25 gift card, while Kohl’s has gone to the extent of paying for the entire cost of orders that they had guaranteed to deliver by Christmas. In any case, this year’s trend will no doubt act as an eye-opener for both sides; consumers may now begin their shopping early, while retailers and couriers will no doubt have better means at their disposal to accomplish timely delivery.