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The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that United Parcel Service (UPS) "plans to charge retailers extra fees to deliver packages during the busiest weeks before Christmas, creating a new challenge for an industry already coping with a shift away from traditional stores," and calls the move "a shot across the bow" for retailers such as Amazon and Walmart that have made last-minute-ordering-and-delivery a key factor in their e-commerce appeal.

The charges "will hit its customers during the busiest shipping weeks and on the most popular products during that time. Between Nov. 19 and Dec. 2—the weeks encapsulating Black Friday and Cyber Monday—UPS is adding a 27-cent charge on all ground packages sent to homes."

According to the story, "The fees will force retailers to decide over the next few months whether to raise shipping prices - something that is difficult to do when online shoppers are reluctant to pay shipping fees - increase the prices of goods or eat the extra costs themselves. Some may seek to avoid the surcharges by spreading holiday deals to other weeks during the season ... For UPS, the move signifies a need to get paid for a service that has become an integral cog in the holiday shopping period, when it must add planes, trucks and thousands of staffers."
KC's View:
I don't blame UPS for doing this, and would expect that we'll see FedEx make a similar decision. Twenty seven cents doesn't seem like much, but it could add up pretty quickly.

The question is how retailers handle this. Because as much as they'd all probably love to add 25 cents to every item price, all it will require is for one e-tailer not to do so for everybody else to fall in line.