Many Retailers Already Struggling with Shipping Delays As Holiday Approaches

Prime Day ended yesterday in a deluge of deals from Amazon. The mega-retailer promises fast shipping, something mom and pop shops are struggling with across the country.

The Morning Insiders take us inside delivery issues hitting some businesses hard at time when they’re already fighting to hang on.

Betty Williams not only uncovers hidden gems, she shows off the fit and flair of decades-old pieces of vintage clothing, jewelry, and accessories, and then shares them with customers around the world.

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Her southern Illinois business, GeekBetty Vintage is built around digging for treasure, so it’s a little ironic to see what’s found get lost. More than 30 of her packages have disappeared during transit since the pandemic began, she said.

And shipping delays have buyers flooding her inbox with questions like “have you shipped this yet?” and “where is this?”

The United States Postal Service noted “unusual circumstances” a few weeks ago in a post specifically about delivery delays; no mention of COVID-19.

A separate statement said the pandemic is only causing “minor operational impacts.”

So what gives?

Jonathan Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy for the National Retail Federation, explains it simply: a boatload of online orders is overwhelming the delivery system.

“The capacity doesn’t exist to address all the increase in sales that we saw,” he said. “There’s limited bandwidth,” Illinois Retail Merchants Association president and CEO Rob Karr said.

Karr said he’s seeing companies make adjustments before shipping. “Some of them have moved away completely from next-day type offers, just because the retailer can’t guarantee it,” he said.

Gold wouldn’t predict what kind of delivery delays businesses and customers might see as holiday shopping ramps up. “I don’t necessarily have a prediction for delays. Again, we’re hoping it won’t be as bad as what we’ve seen,” he said.

Seasonal hiring by service providers should help, Gold said. So will managing customer expectations. “They don’t like being told that ‘it’s out of my hands,’ Williams said. “I recognize the frustration. I know how exciting it is to order something and be waiting for it.”

CBS2 found examples of companies across the US asking for patience with packages. Shipping delays can leave already cash-strapped businesses with even more expenses, including offering discounts or refunds…  CBS2 News

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