Amazon’s Rough Christmas

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Amazon may have had one of its best Cyber Mondays in reported history, but it doesn’t mean that the holiday shopping season went off without a hitch.

The company had some trouble getting all of its orders delivered on time for Christmas, after promising customers the same speedy delivery as usual. Amazon Prime members, in particular, are promised two-day shipping on Prime-eligible products, whether it’s Christmastime or not.

Unfortunately, last-minute shopping and overloads at UPS left Amazon customers waiting by the window on Christmas morning.

To make up for it, Amazon announced last week that they would offer $20 gift cards to customers who didn’t receive their presents on time. UPS is also issuing refunds.

Long story short, Amazon certainly doesn’t want to deal with this (or lose money issuing refunds) again.

It’s been mere weeks since Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduced the idea of delivery drones, which would offer half-hour delivery to Prime customers. We’ll clearly have to wait a while for this to be fully implemented, but perhaps the drone experts at Amazon are hearing the crack of the whip after this debacle.

For now, Amazon relies on UPS and USPS to deliver packages purchased through the service, which proved difficult this holiday season.

According to the WSJ, UPS originally expected to ship around 7.75 million packages on Monday, the 23rd. Though it’s unclear how many packages actually went through UPS systems that day, the company did admit that “the volume of air packages in its system had exceeded its capacity.”

Amazon is clearly on the road to taking shipping into its own hands. Setting aside delivery drones, the company has implemented Sunday delivery in big cities like New York and San Francisco, thanks to the U.S. government, with rollouts expected in Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Phoenix.

Plus, Amazon already has its own mini-fleet of delivery trucks and contractors for its AmazonFresh service, which delivers fresh produce and other foods on a same-day or next-day basis in Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

It’s simply a matter of time before Amazon controls delivery entirely, perhaps even in time to avoid this situation next Christmas. Maybe that’s Bezos’ New Years Resolution?