As the COVID-19 global health crisis lead to widespread store closures and stay-at-home orders, consumers quickly turned to online shopping to buy household items and other necessities. This surge in e-commerce over the past few months has pushed parcel volumes up to near peak season levels.
According to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index, e-commerce sales grew 49% year-to-date, with electronics sales increasing 58% and online grocery sales going up 110%. This rapid shift to e-commerce created many challenges for shippers, carriers, and consumers alike. With no end in sight on the e-commerce rush, many carriers have felt the strain of increased parcel volumes, implementing temporary peak surcharges and putting caps on the number of items retailers can ship. To navigate some of these changes, shippers looked for ways to remain flexible and expand their carrier networks to locate the best value for each shipment during a time when parcel deliveries are in flux.
Like many others, one Logistyx customer, a large regional department store chain, experienced a noticeable and sustained uptick in online orders since the outbreak. With limitations put in place by their current carrier, the department store chain sought other carrier options to meet demand. After comparing alternative carrier rates and services via Logistyx, the department store chain found a successful carrier partner in the United States Postal Service (USPS), that was capable of immediately handling the increased volume of parcel deliveries. The chain quickly shifted its entire parcel shipping operation to the USPS.
The USPS has proven itself essential for shippers looking to meet consumers’ expanding e-commerce shipping expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic. In many regions, the USPS often serves as the best option for last-mile delivery, with the ability to deliver more quickly to customers than other well-known carriers at very competitive rates. The USPS Priority Mail service delivers most domestic packages in under two days with no hidden fees or surcharges and includes tracking capabilities.
Week to week, USPS package deliveries increased 20-50% in April compared to the previous year, and 60-80% in May. The USPS improved select service measures after extending delivery windows in April due to COVID-19, adding an additional day to two- and three-day priority mail and first-class package service, according to ShipMatrix. Between April 19 and May 23, USPS delivered 89.5% of priority mail packages on time, compared with 87.4% between March 1 and April 18. For first-class packages, 92.8% were delivered on time between April 19 and May 23, compared with 92.9% in the earlier period.
While the future of the USPS remains a question, there’s no doubt it functions as an affordable and reliable carrier service for many shippers who find themselves at an unprecedented apex of e-commerce orders.
As the impacts of COVID-19 continue to effect e-commerce shipping, a TMS for parcel shipping can provide shippers with the advanced tools to handle increased parcel shipping volumes while giving them access to an unmatched number of multi-carrier integrations and automated selection of carriers based on preferences for cost, capacity, efficiency, and effectiveness.
Learn how Logistyx’s global carrier network of more than 8,500 carrier service integrations can empower your business to ship smarter and spend less.