CHICAGO (CBS) — Prime Day begins today with a deluge of deals from Amazon. The mega-retailer promises fast shipping, something mom and pop shops are struggling with across the country.
The Morning Insiders take us inside delivery issues hitting some businesses hard at time when they’re already fighting to hang on.READ MORE: Chicago Neighborhood Pharmacies Pivot After The Pause On Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine
CBS 2’s Lauren Victory looks into predictions for one of the biggest tests yet: the holiday season.
Betty Williams not only uncovers hidden gems, she shows off the fit and flair of decades-old pieces of vintage clothing, jewelry, and accessories, and then shares them with customers around the world.
Her southern Illinois business, GeekBetty Vintage is built around digging for treasure, so it’s a little ironic to see what’s found get lost. More than 30 of her packages have disappeared during transit since the pandemic began, she said.
And shipping delays have buyers flooding her inbox with questions like “have you shipped this yet?” and “where is this?”
The United States Postal Service noted “unusual circumstances” a few weeks ago in a post specifically about delivery delays; no mention of COVID-19.
A separate statement said the pandemic is only causing “minor operational impacts.”
So what gives?
Jonathan Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy for the National Retail Federation, explains it simply: a boatload of online orders is overwhelming the delivery system.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Illinois: Second Highest Daily Case Load Since January; Nearly 25% Of State Now Fully Vaccinated
“The capacity doesn’t exist to address all the increase in sales that we saw,” he said.
“There’s limited bandwidth,” Illinois Retail Merchants Association president and CEO Rob Karr said.
Karr said he’s seeing companies make adjustments before shipping.
“Some of them have moved away completely from next-day type offers, just because the retailer can’t guarantee it,” he said.
Gold wouldn’t predict what kind of delivery delays businesses and customers might see as holiday shopping ramps up.
“I don’t necessarily have a prediction for delays. Again, we’re hoping it won’t be as bad as what we’ve seen,” he said.
Seasonal hiring by service providers should help, Gold said. So will managing customer expectations.
“They don’t like being told that ‘it’s out of my hands,’ Williams said. “I recognize the frustration. I know how exciting it is to order something and be waiting for it.”
CBS 2 found examples of companies across the U.S. asking for patience with packages.MORE NEWS: In The Wake Of Adam Toledo's Death, New Calls For CPD To Develop Better, Stricter Foot Chase Policies
Shipping delays can leave already cash-strapped businesses with even more expenses, including offering discounts or refunds.