Can retailers avoid the 2013 shipping fiasco?

RetailWire panelists — and other observers of retail — will be closely watching whether retailers and shipping partners can execute better than last year. I raise a caution in the following comment:

No retailer wants to be in an uncompetitive position on Christmas delivery, just as most retailers want to start Black Friday when “the other guy” does. The issue is whether retailers have partnered more effectively with the major carriers — especially UPS, who was less prepared than FedEx last year. (And the Postal Service seems to be playing a more active role this year.) It’s also debatable whether the rise of BOPIS and ship-from-store will help retailers execute better, since brick-and-mortar locations will be plenty busy anyway.

The biggest question is whether consumers — having been burned in 2013 — will even take the risk of waiting until the last possible minute, if they are righfully skeptical about the stores’ ability to execute.

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