The X-Mas Delivery: How to Overcome Delays

  • 23 October 2023
  • 11 min to read

Have you ever struggled to deliver your orders across the borders timely during Christmas? You surely have. Here we are with our tips on how to avoid the delays and additional expenditures along with customers’ frustration.

Top Reasons Why Your Orders Don’t Arrive on Time

First things first, let’s describe what factors contribute to orders not arriving on time during the Christmas season. Here are some common reasons: 

  • High Volume of Orders: Every pre-Christmas period people go for online shopping worldwide more often than ever which leads to a substantial increase in the number of orders. Thus, in the 4th quarter of 2022, e-commerce sales reached over 16% in total sales compared to 14.4% in the 3rd quarter of the same year. It overwhelms shipping and delivery services, causing delays.  
  • Weather Conditions: Turbulent weather, such as snowstorms, hurricanes, or heavy rain often disrupt transportation networks and delay shipping and delivery. 
  • Logistical Challenges: Package transportation from manufacturers to distribution centers and last miles is a complex logistics process that causes delays as well. This is especially true for the peak season as it’s characterized by a large number of orders worldwide. 
  • Supply Chain Disruptions: Issues within the supply chain, such as shortages of raw materials, manufacturing hold-ups, or transportation disruptions influence the timely production and delivery of goods.  
  • Customs and Import/Export Processes: International shipments have a more complex way of delivery: apart from crossing borders geographically, they have to go through legal procedures such as customs clearance and other accompanying processes. When it comes to the holiday season, customs offices experience increased workloads so online orders arrive later than usual at the customer’s doors. 
  • Carrier Capacity Limits: Shipping carriers often have limited capacity during Christmas which causes delays as they try to manage and prioritize shipments. 
  • Staffing Issues: Staff shortages, whether in warehouses, distribution centers, or transportation services, contribute to delays in processing and delivering orders. 
  • Last-Minute Ordering: Have you or your customers ever ordered presents or home decor a few days before the holiday? We bet you have. That’s why you could have often waited longer for them since carriers struggle to handle the delivery load. 
  • Address Errors: If you ever failed to put your shipping address correctly or noticed such things at your customer place, you know how long your parcel may take to be delivered. Oftentimes, such parcels get returned to stores and need to be shipped again later with the correct address.  
  • Unexpected Events: Unforeseen events, such as accidents, natural disasters, or other emergencies, also disrupt transportation networks and lead to delays in the delivery process, so the orders of your customers don’t arrive as expected.  

To mitigate these issues, both customers and businesses have to plan their interactions, communicate clearly, and be aware of the potential challenges associated with holiday shipping. As a business owner, you can also work closely with your shipping partners to optimize logistics and improve the overall efficiency of the supply chain during peak seasons. 

2023 Trends on Christmas Delivery Across Europe

Below, we are shedding light on the main tendencies in delivery tracked in the past year.  

  • E-commerce Growth: The first trend of online shopping and e-commerce's rising popularity is likely to continue. More consumers are expected to prefer online shopping, which can impact the demand for efficient and timely Christmas deliveries. 
  • Focus on Sustainability: The second trend is the environmental consciousness among consumers and thus, a higher demand for sustainable and eco-friendly delivery options. To keep abreast of times, companies implement green packaging and carbon-neutral shipping methods. 
  • Technology Integration: Ongoing advancements in technology, such as real-time tracking, route optimization, and automated delivery systems enhance the efficiency of Christmas deliveries, that’s why Meest developed its MWL platform to keep up with the market needs. 
  • Same-Day and Next-Day Delivery Services: Consumer expectations of light-speed delivery urge companies to invest in and expand same-day and next-day delivery services to meet the demand for last-minute Christmas shopping. For instance, Meest is capable of delivering parcels from Poland to Germany in a day (or up to three days during the holiday season).  
  • Collaboration with Local Retailers: To accelerate the shipping process, businesses explore partnerships with local retailers or distribution centers, allowing them to use these facilities strategically to reduce transit times. 
  • Customs and Trade Impacts: Any changes in customs regulations or trade agreements may influence cross-border deliveries. Companies need to adapt to new requirements to ensure smooth Christmas deliveries across European borders. 
  • Supply Chain Resilience: After the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses may focus on building more resilient supply chains to handle unexpected challenges, reducing the risk of delays during peak seasons. 
  • Customer Communication: Enhanced communication strategies, including proactive tracking updates, personalized notifications, and transparent communication about delivery times, can contribute to a positive customer experience during the holiday season. 
  • Capacity Planning: Shipping carriers and logistics providers may invest in capacity planning to handle the increased volume of parcels during the Christmas period. This can involve optimizing warehouse operations, transportation networks, and workforce management. 
  • Adoption of Autonomous Vehicles: In some regions, the adoption of autonomous vehicles or drones for last-mile delivery might be prevalent, allowing faster and more efficient Christmas deliveries. 

How to overcome shipping delays during Christmas time? 

Here are a few recommendations from us on how to get through delays in delivery when Christmas time is approaching.  

  1. Keep track of the load of the orders you can take. First of all, past experience of delivery can help you predict the next steps to take. Next, you need to have a reliable system of online tracking of your orders: it will allow you to see how many orders are placed, whether your store can take more to deliver before Christmas, and how to collect them to ship to different zones.  
  2. Encourage your customers to order early. You can do it by implementing additional discounts or ad banners with special offers that will appear on your website weeks before Christmas so that your customers can see and use them in advance.  
  3. Offer more active customer support during peak season. Be ready for overload with requests of your clients during this time and be sure your customer support department can handle all of them on time.  
  4. Take into account the weather conditions of previous years. Although the weather may not be exactly the same every year, you can predict what to expect remembering past experience. Thus, you’ll be able to choose the best route for the orders delivery and so on.  
  5. Set realistic expectations about shipping to distant territories. If there are any hard-to-reach areas where you need to deliver your orders, apply realistic terms of delivery for them, and don’t stress out over the things you can’t control.  
  6. Cooperate with reliable logistics services and platforms. Consider using MWL platform to get the best logistics solution for your business.  

As you can see, overcoming postponed deliveries and unforeseen circumstances isn’t easy; however, as an e-commerce business owner, you have all it takes to improve the shipping process for the Christmas orders of your clients and strengthen your company image among your competitors.  

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