StellaService Study: Did Leading Retailers Deliver By Christmas as Advertised?

December 26, 2013 / 0 Comments

Waitingforsanta2

We anxiously awaited a few last-minute holiday orders this year – 75 orders from 25 retailers to be exact.

StellaService analyzed retailers’ stated standard shipping cut-off dates to receive orders by Christmas. StellaService Analysts then ordered the same product from the 25 of the largest online retailers to be delivered to three separate regions – East, West and Midwest. The effort was part of the broader 2013 StellaService Holiday Insights study, sponsored by global management and consulting firm Kurt Salmon.

Eight retailers – or 32% – failed to deliver at least one order by Christmas. Of all 75 orders, 12% did not arrive by the estimated date. And, all but one failed delivery was shipped using UPS.

In a statement today, a UPS spokesperson issued an apology, saying that ”The volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity of our network.” While UPS said only a small number of orders were affected, StellaService data shows something different. However, it’s important to note that UPS is the preferred carrier for most companies in the top 25.

So, who saved Christmas? It’s no surprise that customer service obsessed Zappos.com gave customers the latest cutoff time – December 23 – and delivered by Christmas in all three regions. StellaService Analysts found that Zappos.com actually upgraded the shipping option to make sure the orders arrived on time.

Other highlights from the Christmas cutoff study include:

  • Zappos.com, Nordstrom.com and Staples.com provided the latest cut-off date for standard shipping, December 23. However, Zappos.com was the only retailer to deliver to all three regions by Christmas.
  • QVC.com did not specify a cut-off date, so shoppers were forced to place orders much earlier than other sites with standard delivery estimates, December 13.
  • Two retailers, Apple and Pottery Barn, changed their cut-off dates/times for standard shipping to allow shoppers more time to order products. Apple extended by a full day and Pottery Barn extended from earlier in the day to midnight. TigerDirect.com provided conflicting information on their site; actually changing the date from the December 20 to the December 18, then back to the 20th again.

“This year, more holiday shopping was conducted online than ever before, truly testing the limits of the delivery infrastructure,” said Kevon Hills, StellaService director of research. “We’ll be watching closely next year to see how both retailers and carriers work to improve the process and ultimately get a higher percentage of packages shipped on time to shoppers.”

Below are the results for each retailer:

Site Product Ordered Delivered by Christmas
Amazon.com Tablet Yes
Zappos.com Sneakers Yes
Staples.com Tablet No
Store.Apple.com Tablet Yes
Walmart.com Tablet Yes
QVC.com Boots Yes
Sears.com Tablet Yes
OfficeDepot.com Tablet Yes
Dell.com Tablet No
BestBuy.com Tablet Yes
OfficeMax.com Tablet Yes
Macys.com Boots No
Newegg.com Tablet Yes
Costco.com Tablet Yes
Store.Sony.com Tablet Yes
Target.com Tablet Yes
Gap.com Sweater No
VictoriasSecret.com Bra And Panty Set Yes
Potterybarn.com Dinnerware No
Shopping.HP.com Tablet Yes
HSN.com Boots Yes
Tigerdirect.com Headphones No
Kohls.com Boots No
Barnesandnoble.com Tablet Yes
Nordstrom.com Bag No

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