eBags Played it Safe with Last Chance Shipping Offers

Dec 30, 2013 3:30 PM  By

eBags President & COO Rob Cassidy

eBags President & COO Rob Cassidy

While many direct-to-customer merchants pushed last-minute Christmas delivery deadlines to the limit, eBags took a conservative approach that led to fewer holiday hangovers for its team and its customers.

eBags president and COO Rob Cassidy said his company did not want to do potential damage to his brand by over-promising on delivery so close to Christmas. By sticking with a Dec. 19 cut-off for guaranteed Christmas delivery, Cassidy said just “a few dozen” orders did not arrive in time to be under the tree.

“There’s always a ton of dialogue at the beginning of the season of how far you want to push last-minute deliveries,” Cassidy said in an interview with Multichannel Merchant. “Carriers are real proactive, but capacity has been reduced. We’ve seen the offloading onto trucks, so it does not surprise me that shippers were caught a little off guard.”

Cassidy said there were a few other reasons eBags chose not to push guaranteed delivery to Dec. 23.

There’s profitability – Since it ships or has product drop shipped from more than 400 locations, eBags eats a lot of the overnight shipping cost. And there’s also the fatigue factor – the more worn-down the fulfillment folks are at that stage of the game, the greater the chance an order will wrongly fulfilled.

And even before the issues of next-day air orders not being fulfilled came to light, Cassidy saw that packages eBags had shipped via ground networks had been underperforming, and packages shipped by air were performing slightly better.

Who’s responsible for the last-for-Christmas shipments? Cassidy said retailers are just as culpable as the carriers. A truncated holiday season meant one less week for everyone. And even despite the delays, the carriers seemed to underplan for ecommerce growth.