Guaranteed Christmas delivery – Can online stores keep that promise?

Once Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been and gone, the hard work starts in earnest for delivery companies across the country. Of course, 2020 has seen more emphasis placed on online ordering than in previous years due to the Covid pandemic, but with Christmas fast approaching and shoppers taking advantage of online deals, that is when things ramp up.

In the UK, online shoppers spent around £2.5 billion on Cyber Monday, which has now become the busiest day in the year for online shopping. With Cyber Monday usually falling just before December starts, many online merchants will try to put shoppers’ minds at ease that everything will be with them in time for the festive season.

However, when the online store is making these promises, they are often relying on a good courier service to seal the deal for them.

While Cyber Monday is far enough away from Christmas Day to be able to guarantee delivery, especially when there isn’t a huge geographical difference between buyer and seller, the deeper it gets into December, the more perilous the promise becomes.

Last orders

Many delivery companies operating in the UK will be transparent about when the latest possible dates are to guarantee Christmas delivery. Couriers know better than most how realistic or not guarantees of Christmas delivery can be and this will be reflected in the dates they publish.

Online merchants will take their lead from delivery companies and should advise customers accordingly whether something they buy can be delivered in time for Christmas.


With tracking technology becoming ever more sophisticated, customers can track their parcels from when they leave the online store. It is important, therefore, for couriers to be able to provide up to date tracking information about deliveries that are in their care.

However, if an online store has guaranteed a customer Christmas delivery, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a courier will be able to make the same guarantee.

2020 has seen an unprecedented number of couriers and delivery drivers on the road, handling an ever-increasing number of parcels. All will of course be trying their best to make sure all deliveries are made on time, but it can be a particularly stressful experience for couriers if anxious customers are waiting for their orders in the days leading up to Christmas.

While tracking can help keep them in the loop, it can sometimes make customers more stressed out, especially as Christmas Day approaches.

Buying local

A big emphasis in 2020 has been on buying local as small businesses have struggled with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Of course, buying local doesn’t just mean popping along to the independent shops in your town. Many small businesses have set up online and rely on couriers to make their deliveries.

They are also more likely to be able to guarantee Christmas delivery as the majority of their customers will be located close to their business. An increase in online small business trade is also good news for couriers as it provides more work and often doesn’t involve travelling too far to make deliveries.

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