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This year, retailers lured shoppers with promises of last-minute holiday shipping; shoppers procrastinated then ordered right before the wire, overwhelming the country's major shipping corporations; and as a result, giftees went without presents on Christmas. As the fallout subsides and packages continue to roll out to homes, experts mull the lessons to be learned from the mess.
According to the Times, some retail analysts think consumers' expectations need to be adjusted. Said one from Forrester Research, "We have this perception that anything can be delivered at any time, and that it will be super cheap and really fast — but this is not Santa Claus." Some think delivery should be more expensive during high volume times of year. "An airline doesn't just buy additional aircraft so they can accommodate everyone who wants to fly the day before Thanksgiving for $300," said another analyst. "They just raise the price of your ticket and force people to go earlier."
And then, of course, there are the shipping companies themselves—understaffed for a last-minute surge in orders. UPS, for instance, hired the same number of seasonal employees this year as last, clearly not taking consumers' increased preference for online shopping into account. That was a big oops.
· After Carriers Falter, Questions for Web Shopping [NYT]
· UPS Fails on Xmas Deliveries, Leaving Sad Children in its Wake [Racked]