Is It Going to Ship?
Not in Stock
Is it going to ship? You’ve chosen the perfect gift. You always know just the right thing for the person who has everything. They are going to love it.
But are they going to receive it?
According to CNN Business, “Not in stock” indicators are up 172 percent this year compared to pre-pandemic times. Cyber 5 (Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday) purchases expect to account for 17 percent of Holiday sales, so take the extra moment to confirm your item will ship.
E-commerce sales in the United States totaled more than $185 billion last year, and there will be a new high mark this year. Covid-19 has taken its toll on manufacturing and shipping, however, increasing the likelihood that many items will ship late or not at all.
If you are in the market for toys and items less reliant on technology, be creative with your search or stick with big retailers. They have the resources to minimize the crunch on labor shortages and inventory.
What Happened and What’s Missing?
The supply chain began to suffer from the onset of the pandemic, causing factories to shut down, leading to a shortage of manufactured products, parts, and materials. Labor shortages and rising freight costs exacerbated the situation, increasing prices and delays, compounding the issue even further.
CBS Essentials points to dozens of items that will be in short supply this year. Of course, products with semiconductor (micro) chips are backlogged, including the Sony PlayStation 5 and iPhone13. Due to shipping delays and production, other items short on stock include Nike shoes, furniture, artificial Christmas trees, appliances, and clothing from overseas.
Because of labor and shipping disruptions, turkeys are scarce this year, so purchase early and look forward to a more mature crop next year.
Finally, automobile manufacturers are affected by the chip shortage, having a far smaller inventory than in the pre-pandemic era. They have finished vehicles filling up lots just waiting for the chips. If it is a brand-new Toyota, Ford F-150, or even a Mercedes-Benz C-Class you were going to put a bow on for the hot gift this year, consider a backup plan just in case.
If You Can’t Drive, Maybe You Can Fly
How about travel? Airfares are still low, so maybe a trip makes a good gift. The average domestic fare ($300) increased in the second quarter of 2021, but that is still down almost 25 percent from 2Q 2016 ($398).
Don’t want to leave home for the Holidays? Give the gift of entertainment. There is an abundance of new online TV streaming services that would love to have you as a new customer.
Tips from online security companies and retailers for online shopping:
- Choose strong passwords (not your name and birthdate, for example)
- Utilize two-factor authentication
- Read reviews
- Use anti-malware
- Be suspicious of low-resolution images, poor grammar, and misspellings
- Look for contact info on websites
It’s The Law. Right?
One final bit of advice; Just because the retailer says it will ship doesn’t mean it will. There is a U.S. Federal Trade Commission 30-Day Rule that stipulates retailers “must have a reasonable basis for stating or implying that you can ship within a certain time.”
What defines a “reasonable basis?” Call, email, or chat with your retailer’s support team and use your shopping experience to come to your conclusion. Sometimes a no reply is the most articulate reply.
From all of us at LMS and GEM, Happy Holidays and be safe.