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Logistics & Fulfilment

Shipping options to complicate holiday period

Online marketplace Amazon has announced it will extend free shipping, with no minimum purchase amount, on orders that will arrive in time for the Christmas holiday in the US.

This offer will extend until Amazon is no longer able to supply items by December 25, according to Amazon’s senior vice president of North American retail Doug Herrington.

Amazon’s Australian arm confirmed to Internet Retailing that the limited-time holiday promotion applies only to the US.

Amazon Australia currently offers priority, next-day delivery, two-business day expedited delivery, as well as standard delivery options, which can range between 3-8 business days, though, according to Pitney Bowes, these options may no longer be enough.

According to the Pitney Bowes 2018 global e-commerce study, 61 per cent of shoppers were left disappointed by last year’s holiday shopping experience due to items arriving late, expensive shipping, inaccurate tracking and confusing return policies.

Additionally, over half of survey respondents noted that they no longer regard two-day delivery as “fast”, putting further pressure on logistics providers this holiday period.

“Consumer expectations this holiday season are more complex,” Pitney Bowes country manager of Australia and New Zealand Stephen Darracott said.

“For each parcel shipment, they want to select shipping options, determine the exact arrival date, and track its progress along the route.”

Australia is a notoriously difficult country to facilitate a fast delivery process, with a population spread out over a large landmass, sometimes living in small, isolated communities.

But with consumer expectations increasing, shipping companies can’t afford to stand still. Various providers have started to advertise special prices in the lead-up to Christmas.

Sendle on Monday announced a 250g ‘parcel to anywhere’ initiative, which allows users to ship a 250g parcel for $13.45 to Alaska, Morocco, Paris, or even Mt Everest Base Camp for the same price.

And Pitney Bowes on Monday announced holiday shipping rates starting at $4.75 per parcel for delivery within the same city, through its partnership with Sendle.

Though Amazon Australia wouldn’t comment on its expectations for the holiday period, country manager Rocco Braeuniger said it is excited for its upcoming Australian Black Friday event.

“Since launch in December of last year, we have grown [the] selection on [Amazon Australia] four fold to 80 million products across 27 categories, all of this is underscored by everyday brilliant value and fast delivery options,” Braeuniger said.

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