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Retailers To Online Shoppers: Be Patient With Delivery, Get Perks

Rewarding customers when they choose slower shipping options is one way online retailers are reacting to a recent decision by UPS to add a holiday surcharge during peak delivery days.

After UPS announced that it would enact surcharges during peak holiday delivery times, online retailers have been considering their options carefully.

Now a few have arrived on a solution: Give that gift a few more days to arrive, and we'll reward you!

As the Wall Street Journal reports, at least a few large purveyors are doling out perks to customers who can handle the idea of it taking a day or two extra for their package to arrive.

Macy's Inc. offers shoppers "Macy's Money," if they choose the "no hurry shipping" option at check out, according to the Journal's report. And the online coupon community is already talking about how to make hay.

One blogger instructs shoppers to choose a small clearance item or two totaling $5, choose the "no hurry shipping." The result, the blogger claims, $5 in Macy's Money, amounting to a free transaction. NPR could not verify this saver's strategy.

Amazon has also committed to a similar "no rush" option and benefits, the Journal also reports.

As NPR's Doreen McCallister reported at the time of UPS's June 19 announcement, the surcharge won't hit retailers every day of the holiday shopping season.

"Between Nov. 19 and Dec. 2 this year, UPS says it will add a 27-cent charge on all ground packages sent to homes. Those dates include Black Friday, which is Nov. 24, and Cyber Monday, which is Nov. 27.

"Consumers then get a two-week reprieve from the additional charge, but the fee makes a comeback to usher in the final holiday rush."

Dawn Wotapka, a public relations manager at UPS, told NPR, the decision to increase cost during peak delivery season is not necessarily a money-making move for the company.

"This is designed to help smooth out the network," Wotapka said. "What's happened in the past, there's been this surge of packages all at once. It isn't the best thing for our customers, and it isn't the best for our network."

UPS says it plans to deliver an estimated 750 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve this year - 30 million a day on the busiest shipping days. Wotapka notes that's an expected 5 percent increase in total packages shipped this holiday season compared to last year's.

It's worth noting that the Journal also reports that neither Fedex nor the United States Postal Service have added peak delivery surcharges this season.

And while the Two-Way can't officially endorse any holiday shopping strategy, it can offer this warning: Those annoyingly early shoppers in your family might be a bit more smug around the Thanksgiving dinner table this year.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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