Tips for Online Shopping: Last Mile Delivery Delays - EgapGO
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28 July 2019
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Tips for Online Shopping: Last Mile Delivery Delays

Why are shipping times longer with smaller merchants?

When you order online from a US merchant, your packages are usually delivered by one of the following major courier companies:

  • Amazon Logistics (only applies to purchases Amazon)
  • FedEx
  • OnTrac
  • UPS – United Parcel Service
  • USPS – United States Postal Service

Some merchants tell you somewhere on their website or when you check out who they use to ship domestically, but many big companies like Amazon, Target, and Walmart use a combination of the above or use a different courier depending on the shipping time you select, your membership and/or the delivery address so you don’t know in advance who will deliver your package (and for the most part you probably don’t care as long as your package arrives on time).

What many people don’t realize is Fed Ex and UPS offer lower shipping rates to merchants if USPS is contracted to do what we call the very last-mile delivery (to the final address like our US warehouse). Using this tag-team approach is most common with 3rd party sellers on Amazon, Target, and Walmart, and smaller merchants, as it is less expensive for them and they don’t have to pass on higher shipping costs in their selling prices.

Merchants who ship with Fed Ex and UPS are not always aware this is the reason they are getting a lower shipping rate and customers are even less aware of this.  When this “hand-off” happens, it leads to longer shipping times.  In theory, this additional time is factored into the ETA communicated to you when you order, but with any handover/layover, there is always the possibility of a delay.

Yes, this is interesting for you to know, but for the most part, the handover is seamless, and your package arrives on time, so you never even know.

However, with USPS service levels reducing over the last few years and coupled with COVIT-19 pressures from more online shopping, delays during the handover have become more frequent and longer.

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do as you rarely have a choice of who is shipping your package unless you pay for expedited domestic shipping.

However, what you can do is allow a buffer of 1-2 days for the ETA and/or shop earlier within our Sailing Cycle to make sure your packages all meet our monthly package arrival cut-off date.

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