As with 2020, this year there are multiple stressors on shipping carriers and the supply chain in general. This season we strongly recommend that you 1) overcommunicate with your customers re: orders, and 2) create a plan with the below in mind.
How to Prepare
Here are some thoughts, best practices and ideas based on what we commonly see:
- Stay nimble and expect some changes to your plan due to other external factors like inclement late fall/winter weather (storms, wildfires, etc.)
- For any anticipated inventory shipments through December, share plans with Airhouse ASAP so that we can monitor and notify you of any changes
- Offer Expedited shipping speeds as an additional option, or restrict to Ground classes only for better tracking consistency and delivery timelines
Marketing and Communications
- Overcommunicate with customers about shipping delays and, if helpful, provide additional context about widespread strain on the global supply chain. We recommend placing these notifications in as many places as possible to set customer expectations:
- Banner on website header
- In cart
- On your order confirmation page
- In your order confirmation emails
- In your shipping notification emails
- On your shipping policy page
- On product description pages before adding to cart
- October 2021 - January 2022 is peak season with shipping carriers (USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc.). Delivery guarantees and SLAs are suspended. As of late September 2021, we are already seeing increased volume and holiday-specific carrier delays. As a reminder, due to COVID, carriers are already experiencing a peak season, and the holidays add a second peak season, meaning logistics networks are at absolute capacity due to the convergence of these two factors. As of September, Airhouse is already noticing and you will see: 1) some tracking inaccuracies either upon pickup or delays in scans throughout shipping carrier networks that make delivery estimates unreliable, 2) delays vs. advertised delivery times, i.e. FedEx Ground advertises 1-5 day delivery, we are seeing only ~73% of shipments delivered within that advertised window. This is not unique to Airhouse, given all warehouses and self-fulfillment options utilize the same shipping carriers. The best course of action as a business owner during this season is to notify your customers to expect delays and order early.
- Monday, November 15 - Friday, December 31 is peak season for warehouses. Guarantees and SLAs are suspended for all services: receiving, projects, and order processing. Services cannot be expedited for receipt in time for the holidays, with no exceptions. Projects will also be delayed and potentially paused during this time. All hands on deck in warehouses will be focused on packing and shipping outbound holiday orders.
- Thursday, November 25 (Thanksgiving Day): Airhouse and warehouses are closed
- Friday, December 24 (Christmas Eve): Warehouses are closed, Airhouse is operating on an emergency-only schedule, and responses may be delayed
- Friday, December 31 (New Year's Eve): Warehouses are closed, Airhouse is operating on an emergency-only schedule, and responses may be delayed