The Times-Tribune

Really pushing it

Retail sites court procrastin­ators with speedy shipping

- BY MAE ANDERSON

Procrastin­ating holiday shoppers are finding a haven online as retailers ramp up expedited shipping and same-day delivery.

ATLANTA — Forget ordering online weeks in advance or dashing out to the drug store for a gift card on Christmas Eve. Procrastin­ating holiday shoppers are finding a haven online as retailers ramp up expedited shipping and sameday delivery services.

Far from discouragi­ng lastminute online shoppers, retailers are actually courting them. Amazon is offering a “Procrastin­ator’s Delight” special. Clothing retailer Madewell proclaims on its website that “procrastin­ators get the best deals” — 25 percent off everything, with orders as late as noon Thursday for holiday deliveries.

It’s a far cry from 2013, when Amazon and package deliverers misjudged demand and delivered some holiday packages after Christmas. Since then, the Seattle company has added warehouses to be closer to customers. It has leased jets and trucks to get packages delivered on time — even last-minute orders. Package carriers such as FedEx and UPS have increased staffing and hired outside contractor­s for the holiday season.

Trust in reliabilit­y

If you’re an online shopper in the days leading up to Christmas and Hanukkah, be ready to forgo free shipping and shell out for expedited service. Look for sites that offer detailed shipping informatio­n.

Check where the package is coming from: if it’s shipping from China or the U.K., you won’t get it in time.

Spiraling demand

The number of holiday packages has been rising each year as more people shop online. Research firm comScore predicts online shopping during the November and December holiday period will rise as much as 19 percent from last year to $81 billion.

UPS predicts global delivery volume during the holidays will rise 14 percent from last year to about 700 million packages. FedEx expects volume to rise about 10 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of services for last-minute online orders keeps growing. Amazon has been expanding its Prime Now same-day delivery service, adding nine cities to reach 31 this year. Amazon also now lets people subscribe to its $99-a-year Prime program, which offers free two-day shipping, on a month-by-month basis. That means shoppers can sign up in December to take advantage of free two-day shipping and have the option of canceling the next month.

The availabili­ty of shipping options could lead to a rush in last-minute online deliveries.

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 ?? WILFREDO LEE / ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? An online shopper searches a site while logged in from Miami. Procrastin­ating holiday shoppers are finding a haven online with expedited shipping and same-day delivery services.
WILFREDO LEE / ASSOCIATED PRESS An online shopper searches a site while logged in from Miami. Procrastin­ating holiday shoppers are finding a haven online with expedited shipping and same-day delivery services.

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