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E-Commerce: Timely Fulfillment Is Hot Topic With Online Holiday Shopping

Online retailers increase their fleets to meet delivery demands.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

After online retailers disappointed shoppers in 1999 by failing to make timely holiday deliveries, this year they must prove their staying power and generate loyalty among holiday shoppers who insist on efficient delivery. With holiday e-commerce expected to increase 66 percent this year over last year, according to Jupiter Communications, the main issue on the minds of consumers is whether or not those purchases will be delivered on time.

"Delivery companies are increasing their fleets to meet demand," said Tom Frey, president of Workhorse Custom Chassis, which manufactures chassis and bodies for step vans. "Delivery companies are working harder, and we're working harder to get Workhorse step vans to the delivery companies." Two-year-old Workhorse has seen an 80 percent increase in step van chassis orders in 2000 versus 1999. And to meet increased demand for urban delivery vehicles, Workhorse created the FasTrack program, offering online sales and support for four base models of complete step vans, and cutting the manufacturing time of vehicles to four weeks, from the industry standard of 14 weeks.

The delivery dilemma doesn't stop in December. Forrester Research predicts year-round online orders will rise above the $2 billion mark by 2003, putting increased pressure on delivery companies by consumers and e-tailers to deliver on time. For more information, call (877) 294-6773 or visit

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