The COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, and with this, many people are wondering what will the holiday celebrations be like this year.
With the pandemic protocols still in place, getting your Christmas shopping done will prove to be a different kind of challenge this year. Many companies are preparing for the next year. Some logistics companies have either expanded or added another area of service to their list. Some are even hiring accountants and lawyers to manage legal documents that range from closure to tax preparation work for truck drivers. Meanwhile, ordinary people worry about whether their loved ones could receive or even deliver their holiday cheers and messages given the worsening situation.
Most people have turned to purchase items from online shops and rely on such deliveries to make gift-giving possible. This allows them to buy both essential and non-essential items from the safety and protection of their homes, avoiding the risk of exposing themselves unnecessarily to the dreaded virus that has already claimed over a million lives worldwide.
With the unexpected massive surge in e-commerce transactions, many fear that their purchases might not make it to them or their loved ones in time for the holidays. Given the number of delays in shipping and logistics last year, their concerns are quite understandable.
Donna Bachmann is one of those people. She claims that FedEx lost at least five quilts she made as holiday gifts last year. She says they did everything they can to track down the items but came up with nothing leaving a lot of her friends and family disappointed.
Thomas Webster also shares the same sentiments. He says that last year, gifts that he bought from Target, Walmart, and Victoria’s Secret did not arrive at their destinations on time. He said that the items were supposed to arrive on December 11. Then OnTrac changed it to different dates four times to the point that some of the gifts were delivered to their recipients in late January of this year.
That was just last year. Pre-COVID.
With the pandemic causing a significantly high spike in online sales, Salesforce predicts that e-commerce will see a 34% to 35% difference in the increase in sales compared to last year. And because of this, major bottlenecks are expected to take place.
A lot of people have already been thinking about it. Senders, recipients, and those who deliver parcels and packages are showing great concern over this matter, especially since Christmas is fast approaching. ;
Retailers, both large and small-scale, are urging people to get their shopping done as early as now to avoid the Christmas rush. The term itself is being given a new definition this year. Since most people are staying at home and don’t want to risk contracting the virus by going out physically to the store, the rush will take place in the digital world.
Expect online selling platforms to be crowded and packed with hordes of shoppers adding items to their carts and checking them out.
Retail shop owners tell their customers to get things done at the soonest possible time to avoid congesting the networks and systems and help prevent delays in shipping. Any procrastination done will negatively affect and strain the shipping industry.
Webster said that this year, they started ordering their Christmas gifts a couple of months ago as a pre-emptive measure.
As for the ones handling the deliveries, FedEx and UPS both say they have prepared for the unusual influx and anticipated the worst. According to FedEx, they are hiring an additional 70,000 seasonal employees for what it calls its “Shipathon.” UPS is on the same page and has hired 100,000 people to help them fulfill their duties this holiday season along with the prediction that 1 out of 3 seasonal employees will end up staying as regular employees.
USPS has also said that they will be adding people to their workforce to accommodate the influx of packages for the holidays.
According to one of the University of Illinois’ data scientists, Sheldon Jacobson, both shippers are capable of handling the onslaught and meeting the increased demands. Jacobson then adds that both companies already have the systems in place, and they already know what to do and how to go about certain unexpected worst-case scenarios. They just need to scale a little higher than usual, but he believes they can manage.
On the other hand, some people are still not convinced that parcel carriers can handle all the load. Experts are already telling people to manage their expectations that delays in shipments and deliveries will be part of the new norm this year.
Given the present circumstances — no pun intended — the only way you can get a guarantee that your package will likely arrive on time is if you start doing your shopping and shipping them out as early as you can.