Holiday Shipping Guidelines (2023)
Holiday Shipping Guidelines (2023)

Holiday Shipping Guidelines (2023)

As with 2022, this year there are multiple stressors on shipping carriers and the supply chain in general. This season we strongly recommend that you 1) over-communicate with your customers regarding 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 or project requests 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
  • Ensure appointments are scheduled at least 48 hours in advance for all inbound shipments and outbound wholesale orders

Marketing and Communications

  • Over-communicate 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 2023 - January 2024 is peak season with shipping carriers (USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc.). 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. 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 13 - Friday, December 29 is peak season for warehouses. Guarantees and SLAs are suspended for all services: receiving, returns, 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. Delays in responses throughout peak season are expected. All hands on deck in warehouses will be focused on packing and shipping outbound holiday orders.
  • Thursday, November 23 (Thanksgiving Day): Airhouse and warehouses are closed
  • Monday, December 25 (Christmas Day): Airhouse and warehouses are closed
  • Monday, January 1 (New Year's Day): Airhouse and warehouses are closed

Receiving

  • Friday, November 10: This is the last guaranteed day Airhouse will receive inventory to stock and ship in time for Black Friday. We recommend sending all holiday inventory prior to this date. As a reminder, delivery appointments are required at least 48 hours in advance or shipments may be refused.
  • Friday, December 8: This is the last guaranteed day Airhouse will receive inventory to stock and ship in time for the holidays. 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 December 10, 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 2022, Airhouse saw 1-3 day average outbound D2C 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, Monday, 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 1: 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 17: Last recommended day to ship international orders for pre-holiday delivery.
  • Friday, November 24 - Monday, November 27: Black Friday/Cyber Monday (BFCM). Warehouses may pull extra hours this weekend to ship out BFCM orders and minimize delays.
  • Wednesday, December 6: Last recommended day to ship USPS and Economy services (Priority, Ground Advantage, UPS SurePost, FedEx Economy Ground).
  • Friday, December 8: Last recommended day to ship FedEx and UPS Ground services (FedEx and UPS Ground, FedEx Home Delivery, UPS Ground Residential).
  • Wednesday, December 13: 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.

Surcharges

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

UPS

NameWill it apply to my shipment?ChargeDate Range
All methods except SurePost that meet criteria*
$6.90
10/1/23 - 1/13/24
All methods except SurePost that meet criteria*
$74.90
10/1/23 - 1/13/24

FedEx

NameWill it apply to my shipment?ChargeDate Range
All Ground Economy
$1.60
10/30/23 - 11/26/23
All Ground Economy
$2.60
11/27/23 - 12/10/23
All Ground Economy
$1.60
12/11/23 - 1/14/24
All Express and Ground Services that meet criteria*
$73.00
10/2/23 - 1/14/24
All Express and Ground Services that meet criteria*
$6.95
10/2/23 - 1/14/24

USPS

NameWill it apply to my shipment?ChargeDate Range
N/A

DHL eComm

NameWill it apply to my shipment?ChargeDate Range
N/A

* Please see the criteria for Additional Handling and Oversize charges here. UPS additional handling is not a new surcharge, but an increased price of an existing surcharge.

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