Avoid the Ship Show: Get ready for package delays due to increased online shopping

Published: Nov. 27, 2020 at 3:59 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Online shopping has skyrocketed during the pandemic. Consumer trend groups predict digital sales to hit all-time highs this holiday season but record online sales mean record shipping delays.

FedEx began warning shoppers of a “shipathon” months ago.

A couch and laptop feels more appealing than ever than braving long lines in crowded stores during a pandemic. Online sales have grown more than 30 percent this year. The growing demand for eCommerce combined with more workers in quarantine is putting a strain on shipping and local retailers are already feeling it.

“You got to look outside of the box,” Tracy Hooks said.

Hooks had to think outside of the box when her boxes didn’t arrive at Communigraphics before Black Friday.

“I tried to order red wrap this morning. Can’t get it anywhere. We use it to wrap everybody’s Christmas presents,” Hooks said.

Not all of her Christmas merchandise is on the shelves either.

“A lot of our Christmas products did not come in,” Hooks said.

Even some of the basics are missing from the racks.

“There is a big shipping ripple effect,” Hooks said.

FedEx warned customers months ago.

Salesforce’s forecast contains a similar warning: “biggest digital holiday season ever will strain shipping capacity. Up to 700 million packages could face potential shipping delays as orders exceed shipping capacity by five percent.”

“We are either getting two-week delays or can’t get it,” Hooks said.

Online orders have soared 30 percent this year, but there are 80,000 fewer truck drivers on the road to deliver the orders. Manufacturers are struggling to meet demand during the pandemic too.

“And then we have a lot of companies we aren’t getting stuff because they closed. Just closed. Whether because the whole office quarantined or they have not been able to financially make it through the year,” Hooks said.

Normally, Amazon Prime members expect their packages to arrive within two days, but this isn’t a normal year.

Earlier this month, the CFO for the eCommerce giant warned, “We’ll all be stretched, and it’s advantageous to the customer and probably to the companies for people to order early this year.”

“They are going to run out of stuff. We are going to run out of stuff,” Hooks said.

Avoid the ship show: order early, buy local, or do both.

FedEx has partnered with retailers like Walgreens, Walmart, and Kroger as drop off locations this holiday season in order to increase delivery times. FedEx will provide normal pickup and delivery through Dec. 23.

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