Holiday Shipping Guidelines (2021)
Holiday Shipping Guidelines (2021)

Holiday Shipping Guidelines (2021)

As with 2020, this year there are multiple stressors on shipping carriers and the supply chain in general. This season we strongly recommend that you 1) overcommunicate with your customers re: orders, and 2) create a plan with the below in mind.

How to Prepare

Here are some thoughts, best practices and ideas based on what we commonly see:

Planning

  • Stay nimble and expect some changes to your plan due to other external factors like inclement late fall/winter weather (storms, wildfires, etc.)
  • For any anticipated inventory shipments through December, share plans with Airhouse ASAP so that we can monitor and notify you of any changes
  • Offer Expedited shipping speeds as an additional option, or restrict to Ground classes only for better tracking consistency and delivery timelines

Marketing and Communications

  • Overcommunicate with customers about shipping delays and, if helpful, provide additional context about widespread strain on the global supply chain. We recommend placing these notifications in as many places as possible to set customer expectations:
    • Banner on website header
    • In cart
    • On your order confirmation page
    • In your order confirmation emails
    • In your shipping notification emails
    • On your shipping policy page
    • On product description pages before adding to cart

Key Dates

All Services

  • October 2021 - January 2022 is peak season with shipping carriers (USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc.). Delivery guarantees and SLAs are suspended. As of late September 2021, we are already seeing increased volume and holiday-specific carrier delays. As a reminder, due to COVID, carriers are already experiencing a peak season, and the holidays add a second peak season, meaning logistics networks are at absolute capacity due to the convergence of these two factors. As of September, Airhouse is already noticing and you will see: 1) some tracking inaccuracies either upon pickup or delays in scans throughout shipping carrier networks that make delivery estimates unreliable, 2) delays vs. advertised delivery times, i.e. FedEx Ground advertises 1-5 day delivery, we are seeing only ~73% of shipments delivered within that advertised window. This is not unique to Airhouse, given all warehouses and self-fulfillment options utilize the same shipping carriers. The best course of action as a business owner during this season is to notify your customers to expect delays and order early.
  • Monday, November 15 - Friday, December 31 is peak season for warehouses. Guarantees and SLAs are suspended for all services: receiving, projects, and order processing. Services cannot be expedited for receipt in time for the holidays, with no exceptions. Projects will also be delayed and potentially paused during this time. All hands on deck in warehouses will be focused on packing and shipping outbound holiday orders.
  • Thursday, November 25 (Thanksgiving Day): Airhouse and warehouses are closed
  • Friday, December 24 (Christmas Eve): Warehouses are closed, Airhouse is operating on an emergency-only schedule, and responses may be delayed
  • Friday, December 31 (New Year's Eve): Warehouses are closed, Airhouse is operating on an emergency-only schedule, and responses may be delayed

Receiving

  • Monday, November 1: This is the last day Airhouse will receive inventory to stock and ship in time for the holidays for new customers. Unless pre-approved, Airhouse will pause onboarding for new customers and resume on Monday, January 3, 2022.
  • Friday, November 12: This is the last day Airhouse will receive inventory to stock and ship in time for the holidays for existing customers. If possible, we do not recommend shipping inventory to the warehouse at all after this date and holding until the new year. If you are sending inventory after November 12, please notify your Account Manager ASAP with the full details of your incoming inventory shipment(s). Airhouse may still receive inventory, but it is not guaranteed to stock until after the holidays.

Order Processing and Shipping

In 2020, Airhouse saw 1-3 day average outbound order processing delays from BFCM through Christmas Day and expects the same processing delays this year. With our recommendations below, all "holiday" delivery is tied to Christmas Day, Saturday, December 25. If you would like delivery before other December holidays, we recommend buffering accordingly. All recommendations are simplified estimates that take into account both warehouse and shipping carrier delays and historical Airhouse data from past holiday seasons, for your convenience. These are not guarantees.

  • Wednesday, November 3: Last day to request changes to shipping options. For example, if you would like assistance setting up expedited (2 Day, Overnight) options, please contact your Account Manager by this date.
  • Friday, November 19: Last recommended day to ship international orders for pre-holiday delivery. Given international lockdowns continue from 2020 country by country according to desired COVID vaccination levels, you can expect carrier interruptions.
  • Friday, November 26 - Monday, November 29: Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM). Warehouses will pull extra hours this weekend to ship out BFCM orders and minimize delays.
  • Wednesday, December 8: Last recommended day to ship USPS and Economy services (Priority, First Class Mail, UPS SurePost, FedEx Economy Ground). For a benchmark going into the holidays, as of late September, Airhouse is seeing 84% on-time delivery for FedEx Economy Ground, our most popular Economy method, at 4.9 day delivery on average and we expect even longer delivery times from Nov-Jan.
  • Friday, December 10: Last recommended day to ship FedEx and UPS Ground services (FedEx and UPS Ground, FedEx Home Delivery, UPS Ground Residential). For a benchmark going into the holidays, as of late September, Airhouse is seeing 73% on-time delivery for FedEx Home Delivery, our most popular Ground method, at 4.5 day delivery on average and we expect even longer delivery times from Nov-Jan.
  • Wednesday, December 15: Last recommended day to ship FedEx and UPS Expedited services (FedEx and UPS 2 Day, Overnight). Why so early? Expedited guarantees from both FedEx and UPS are suspended, meaning they are effectively just slightly faster Ground services. For a benchmark going into the holidays, as of late September, Airhouse is seeing 73% on-time delivery for FedEx Standard Overnight, our most popular Expedited method, and only 16% on-time for 2 Day. Average delivery is 2.5 days for Standard Overnight and 3.8 days for 2 Day, and we expect even longer delivery times from Nov-Jan.

Surcharges

Below are the surcharges from carriers for the holiday peak season.

Carrollton, TX

NameCarrierWill it apply to my shipment?ChargeDate Range
First Class Mail Peak Surcharge
USPS
All First Class Mail
$0.33
10/3/21 - 12/26/21
Priority Mail Peak Surcharge
USPS
All Priority Mail
0-10 lb, Zones 1-4: $0.28 0-10 lb, Zones 5-9: $0.83 11-20 lbs, Zones 1-4: $1.65 11-20 lbs, Zones 5-9: $3.30 21+lbs, Zones 1-4: $2.75 21+ lbs, Zones 5-9: $5.50
10/3/21 - 12/26/21
SurePost & Ground Residential
UPS
All SurePost and Ground Residential
$0.30
Through 10/30/21
SurePost & Ground Residential Peak Surcharge
UPS
All SurePost and Ground Residential
$1.15
10/31/21 - 1/15/22
Air Residential
UPS
All Air Residential
$2.15
10/31/21 - 1/15/22
Additional Handling
UPS
All methods EXCEPT SurePost
$6.60
10/3/21 - 1/15/22
Large Package
UPS
All methods EXCEPT SurePost
$66
10/3/21 - 1/15/22
Peak Surcharge
DHL
All domestic
$0.11
10/3/21 - 12/25/21

CA, NJ, and Grand Prairie, TX

NameCarrierWill it apply to my shipment?ChargeDate Range
Additional Handling
FedEx
All Express and Ground Services that meet criteria*
$5.95
10/4/21 - 1/16/22
Oversize Charge
FedEx
All Express and Ground Services that meet criteria*
$62.50
10/4/21 - 1/16/22
Ground Economy Peak Surcharge
FedEx
All Ground Economy
$1.50
12/19/21 - 1/16/22
First Class Mail Peak Surcharge
USPS
All First Class Mail
$0.30
10/3/21 - 12/26/21
Priority Mail Peak Surcharge
USPS
All Priority Mail
0-10 lb, Zones 1-4: $0.25 0-10 lb, Zones 5-9: $0.75 11-20 lbs, Zones 1-4: $1.50 11-20 lbs, Zones 5-9: $3.00 21+lbs, Zones 1-4: $2.50 21+ lbs, Zones 5-9: $5.00
10/3/21 - 12/26/21

* Please see the criteria for Additional Handling and Oversize charges here.

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