Part of the growth was likely due to e-tailers like Amazon offering early deals and other, more conventional retailers following suit. Around 30 percent of online retail sales through most of November were from Amazon, but other retailers — most notably Target — also captured healthy shares of the online shopping market. E-commerce accounted for about 20.2 percent of retail sales from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, up from 18.4 percent in 2016.
During the holiday shopping season, volumes moving through fulfillment centers are about six times higher than at any other time of year, but consumer expectations for speedy fulfillment remain high, regardless. To meet those requirements, the Internet Retailer report said retailers can take steps to prepare in advance, including: moving from a single fulfillment center model to a multiple regional fulfillment model; hiring in advance to staff fulfillment and customer service centers; and investing in technology for things like order and shipping status tracking.
On the shipper side, fulfillment services struggled to keep up with the shopping surge in the days after Thanksgiving, the report found. UPS fell behind in deliveries across its United States network, and ShipMatrix estimates that about 94.4 percent of the carrier’s ground deliveries were on time between Nov. 26 and Dec. 2. FedEx Ground maintained a better record, at 96.1 percent, while the U.S. Postal Service’s Parcel Select service, for last-mile delivery, maintained a 99 percent on-time record.
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