COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Whether you’re on the hunt for the hottest electronics or sticking with stocking stuffers, you might need to start your holiday shopping sooner than later.
Waiting to snag the best deals on Black Friday, or even Cyber Monday, could jeopardize whether your gifts arrive in time this year.
“Anything you see, anything you can touch, it all has to move by truck to get to the distribution center, or the store, or your front door,” explains Roadmaster Driving School President Brad Ball. “If something moves by a ship, or by plane, or by train, at the end of the day it all has to move by truck.”
It’s a holiday season even unlike the one that shoppers experienced last year.
The global supply chain has taken a big hit in recent months, and with peak holiday shopping season arriving earlier than ever, retailers are struggling to supply the elevated buyer demand.
“It’s affecting everyone. There’s a lot of retailers that were expecting goods, that aren’t getting them,” Ball admits.
Meaning, the best advice for shoppers this season?
“Try to get your orders in as soon as possible,” warns Ball. “There’s no telling exactly where the kinks in the supply chain will affect various retailers right now.”
Roadmaster has CDL Training programs at 17 driving school locations across the country, including right here in Columbus.
Though many of those programs are filled with potential drivers, since 2019, Ball says the truck driver shortage has grown by more than 20,000 nationwide.
Leading to empty shelves in stores, and possibly longer delivery times online.
“Our fulfillment centers stock tens of millions of products,” explains Jessica Pawl from Amazon. “We’ve used a lot of the historical data that we have, as well as predictive date to ensure that we have all of the right products in the right spots.”
Though whether procrastinator or planner, Amazon says Central Ohio shoppers should be confident they’ll be able to get what they need, on time.
“All of the products that are in each center are really based on the order history of people who live in that area,” Pawl describes. “So, what we have that’s currently located in Columbus are things we know people in Columbus are buying.”
Amazon also provides delivery windows on each product page to ensure buyers know exactly when to expect that item to arrive — whether it’s the latest Apple Air Pods or a new novel.
“If you’re looking for particular products, you can log on now to check out exactly when that delivery date will be, whether you’re a ‘Prime’ member or not,” Pawl encourages.
With many shoppers committed to supporting small businesses during the holidays, Amazon says their more than 40,000 Ohio sellers means shoppers can stay home and still stay local.
“There are even ways you can search to find some of those sellers that are located within your region and see exactly what they’re offering online,” describes Pawl.
And local might be key; one expert told NBC4 that local businesses often source locally as well, so shoppers may have a little more luck with some retailers in their own backyard.
But before your gifts arrive this holiday season, Pawl reminds shoppers to customize their delivery options online to be certain your packages arrive safe and secure.
“You can actually make very specific tweaks and customizations to your deliveries so you’re ensuring your packages are set exactly where you want them,” Pawl explains.