UPS Asks Retailers To Hold Holiday Sales Earlier, Avoid Ruining Christmas Again

Between bad weather and a surge in last-minute deliveries, the 2013 holiday season was a bit of a disaster for UPS. Some folks were left handing out apologies and rain checks at Christmas because the gifts they’d intended to give were still en route. This year, the shipper is asking retailers to help everyone avoid a repeat underwhelming performance.

The Wall Street Journal reports that UPS is asking online retailers to rethink when they schedule their big holiday sales.

Last year, a lot of companies had big last-minute countdown to Christmas sales or pushed delivery deadlines as far as they could. But UPS is now suggesting that they hold these big sales in mid-December, leaving the company enough time to make deliveries before the big holiday.

Another idea reportedly being put out there by UPS is to stagger sales by geographic region, presumably so as to not slam UPS with deliveries nationwide all at once.

And UPS is pleading with e-tailers to not make the mistake of offering free overnight shipping as late as Dec. 23. That might sell a lot of toys, computers, and video games but that doesn’t mean UPS will be able to deliver them all.

While retailers tell the Journal they are working closely with the shipping companies to avoid an encore of 2013, they don’t seem to actually be doing much in terms of rescheduling.

For example, Nordstrom says that it’s rolling back its deadline for guaranteed delivery before Christmas, but only by three hours. Customers will still be able to place orders on the retailer’s website until noon on Dec. 23.

Macy’s is also sticking with that same deadline for its pre-Christmas orders. However, the department store chain has started same-day delivery in a handful of major markets and rolled out its Buy Online Pickup in Store (BOPS) program to 800 stores, which it hopes will allow customers to enjoy the convenience of shopping online without having to say a prayer that snow or torrential rain won’t ruin their Christmas gift-giving plans.