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e-Commerce Industry News

September 17, 2014
Will delivery service providers be prepared for the 2014 holiday season?
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September 17, 2014
Many merchants are preparing for the 2014 holiday season. Many merchants are preparing
for the 2014 holiday season.
Although there was not much retailers could do about it, the 2013 holiday season was highlighted by disastrous delays that extended past Dec. 25. This not only left retailers with several angry customers, it also had many rethinking which companies they worked with as a part of their third-party logistics programs. With the 2014 holiday season right around the bend, many merchants have to be questioning whether delivery service providers will be prepared.

Some of these logistics companies have already come out and acknowledged the disaster from the previous holiday season. UPS, for example, recently outlined plans to increase holiday capacity this year, including a $500 million capital outlay to bolster sorting and delivery processes. The company will also be making use of mobile distribution centers by rail as well as using bolt-on modules to add more work space to facilities to improve performance during peak periods, Multichannel Merchant reported.

"We are ready to deliver, and we've been working on it since Dec. 26," said Mark Wallace, vice president of engineering for U.S. domestic operations at UPS. "We understand what happened so we have plans in place for 2014."

The holidays are often the most important time of the year for many merchants and some retailers do as much as 40 percent of their annual sales in the last two months of the year, according to the National Retail Federation. Although retailers may have little impact on the delivery of their goods, they can avoid setting false expectations ahead of time by setting earlier deadlines. They could also consider using multiple shipping providers, which may improve their flexibility in case one encounters delivery issues.