For retailers, encouraging customers to wait for packages is a no-brainer, said Bobby Stephens, a senior manager in Deloitte Digital's retail practice. As the holiday shopping season stretches earlier and earlier into November, most consumers don't actually need orders to arrive right away. Spreading them out lessens the impact on a retailer's supply chain, and offering a store credit could encourage another purchase, he said.
"I think the incentive ends up being worth it to not have to deal with the customer service ramifications of not delivering on time," he said.
It also could help retailers avoid extra costs that one major package shipper added to help cope with the surging volume of packages.
In June, UPS announced new surcharges for deliveries during the busiest holiday weeks. The fees add 27 cents for residential deliveries between Nov. 19 and Dec. 2 and Dec. 17 to Dec. 23, or up to 97 cents for faster shipping during the latter period.
UPS ships more than 19 million packages on a typical day. But that figure frequently topped 30 million during the 2016 holidays, UPS said.
The company expects to deliver about 750 million packages worldwide between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve, roughly 5 percent more than last year.
It's too soon to say how the peak charges are affecting shipments, but the holiday delivery season is "off to a good start," said UPS spokesman Matthew O'Connor.
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