Time is Running Out for Holiday Online Deliveries!

Friday in 5 – interesting news bits from around the supply chain horn, served up in one spot to keep you up to date.

Only about a week remains to get your holiday shopping done. If you’re shopping online, the delivery window is closing. Here’s a quick roundup of industry news to get you through.

Holiday shopping puts strain on shipping companies

Holiday shipping volumes that have blown past expectations, and United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp., are straining to keep up, delaying the delivery of some of the millions of online orders shoppers have placed since Thanksgiving. UPS has relocated hundreds of staff from its headquarters and other corporate offices to help at shipping hubs struggling to handle record demand, according to people familiar with the situation. Already in advance of the busy holiday season, both UPS and FedEx had extended delivery windows on some routes, suspended delivery guarantees and refunds for certain weeks and stopped promising to deliver express packages by a certain time in some cases. Read UPS, FedEx Struggle to Keep Up With Surge in Holiday Orders, by Erica E. Phillips and Jennifer Smith in The Wall Street Journal to learn more.

If you can’t ship it in time, try drone delivery

Three years ago, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, first said that the e-commerce giant wanted to use drones to deliver packages directly to customers’ homes. Many people in the industry thought he was crazy, and many outside the industry laughed. But now his claims no longer look so outlandish. On Wednesday, Mr. Bezos announced on Twitter that his company had made its first commercial drone delivery, on Dec. 7, to an Amazon shopper in Cambridgeshire, England, a major step forward in its experiments with automated shipments. Read The New York Times article In Major Step for Drone Delivery, Amazon Flies Package to Customer in England, by Nick Wingfield and Mark Scott, to learn how Amazon accomplished this feat.

Grocery makes inroads in online shopping

According to the Supermarket News article Online shoppers view supermarkets for stock-ups, by Jon Springer, Supermarkets that also offer online shopping options are generating larger per-order online rings than their “pure-play” e-commerce counterparts, suggesting shoppers view them as “stock-up” solutions.

But if you do go to the grocery store…

This Machine Will Bag Your Groceries by Itself. Panasonic Corp. hopes to change convenience stores with a machine that scans and bags merchandise, joining Amazon.com Inc. in the push for retail automation. Watch the video on Market Watch to learn more.

Millennials want their shopping experience to be different

Millennial consumers, roughly those below age 35, played a key role in the record-breaking surge that made this year’s Black Friday the first day ever to rack up more than $1 billion in mobile sales. And retailers are pulling out all the stops to get them in the door. But, as Charisse Jones reports in her USA Today article, Millennials demand more from holiday shopping, social media and word of mouth matter much more to Millennials than a retailer’s sales pitch, impacting how merchants may look at advertising their products. Whether it’s demanding unique gifts or paying heed to charity, Millennials are putting their own distinctive stamp on the holiday retail experience.

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