Retailers establish holiday shipping deadlines

This holiday season, businesses are wary of offering shipping promises they can't deliver on.

This holiday season, businesses are wary of offering shipping promises they can't deliver on.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) recently reported that businesses are in the midst of finalizing their shipping and logistics plans to avoid any delays or customer service errors during the coming holiday season.

The NRF suggests that free shipping is quickly becoming the standard, with 92.3 percent of businesses planning to offer it this December. Of those surveyed, 69.1 percent reported setting a shipping deadline on or before December 19, which is a day earlier than the deadline most businesses announced last year. This is probably in reaction to the 2013 shipping delays, and represents an effort on retailers' parts to reduce the likelihood of after-Christmas deliveries. 

"In addition to ramping up their online promotions earlier to entice customers to start shopping earlier in the season, many companies this year also have invested in functionalities such as live chat, checking in-store product availability and buy-online-pick-up-in-store," Vicki Cantrell, executive director and NRF senior vice president, said in a press release. 

In fact, nearly eight in ten retailers are planning on moving up their order deadlines. Last year, businesses catered to last-minute shoppers by promising shipping only a few days before Christmas, but a number of factors meant some products did not arrive in time to celebrate for the holiday. 

"This time around they're trying to lower the expectations of the customers to let them know that if you buy something on Christmas Eve, it's not gonna get here on Christmas," said finance professor David Vang to CBS News. 

If your business is trying to find that balance between pleasing procrastinating shoppers and ensuring timely delivery, consider hiring the services of a third-party logistics company. A business like Reliable Runners can handle your operations efficiently and accurately.