Last-minute holiday shopping is always a chaotic time for customers and suppliers alike, and improving holiday delivery speeds is a massive logistical undertaking. GSI Commerce — an eBay-owned company that handles shipping for popular brands like Aéropostle, Ralph Lauren, and Godiva — has spent more than $25 million over the past year to extend its shipping cutoff by a single hour, The Wall Street Journal reports. Customers now have until 11PM EST on December 22nd to order presents and still get them in time for Christmas Eve, which is eight hours longer than Amazon offers.
As the same-day delivery struggles of companies like WalMart, eBay, Amazon, and others demonstrate, even small improvements in shipping speed present a significant logistical challenge. In order to improve its order window, GSI has optimized warehouse operations by analyzing what people are buying and placing high-demand items closer to the ends of the aisles. GSI's engineers also reduced the amount of ink used in label printing so cartridges don't need to be replaced as often, and consolidated boxes by drilling holes in them to remain in line with fire codes. Ron Livengood, senior director of operations at GSI's Walton, KY warehouse told The Wall Street Journal that all of these changes reduce employees' walking time by 60%. It also means that you can put off holiday shopping just a little longer, and hopefully avoid the throngs of last-minute shoppers on Christmas Eve.