Most Retailers Delivered on Time This Christmas, Clearing a Lowered Bar

Retailers lowered the bar for Christmas season fulfillment, then easily cleared it, according to an annual report from Accenture Strategy.

93% of retailers tracked by Accenture were able to process and deliver customer orders by the last guaranteed delivery date. But 33% of them ditched their last order promise date as Christmas approached to avoid disappointing customers, more than in past years, according to the consultancy.

In its place many retailers boosted their buy online, pickup in store offers (BOPIS) and in-store specials. Many offered BOPIS on Christmas Eve, including Kohl’s, Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe’s.

All the retailers tracked by Kurt Salmon kept their delivery promises in 2017, but they were more cautious about order cutoffs, with an average date of Dec. 16 for standard shipping, compared to Dec. 17 this year. The success rate was 92% in 2016 and 88% in 2015, according to Kurt Salmon.

For this year season Accenture Strategy placed orders with 52 U.S. retailers, including big box chains, specialty stores and pure-play ecommerce firms, to measure their ability to fulfil orders placed on the last day for guaranteed Christmas delivery.

According to Accenture, retailers that pushed the limit on order cutoff dates were the ones that most often disappointed customers. All of those that failed to deliver on time had a cutoff date of Dec. 19 or later.

The retailers that performed the best, according to Accenture, and their order cutoff dates:

  • Amazon Prime (orders up to Dec. 22)
  • Under Armour, Lululemon Athletica, MM.LaFleur, Coach, L.L.Bean, Nordstrom and Zappos (orders up to Dec. 21)
  • Dillard’s, Macy’s, Timberland, Sephora, Saks Fifth Avenue and Best Buy (orders up to Dec. 20)

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