According to Outbrain, eCommerce sales are expected to grow by 11.9% in the 2023 holiday shopping season, and the number of worldwide online shoppers will increase 3.1%, reaching 2.89 billion. That’s more than 36% of the global population, and all of those customers rely on delivery drivers to deliver their gifts in time for the holidays.
The substantial growth in online shopping and the rise of two-day, next-day, and same-day shipping, delivery drivers play a vital role in delivering holiday cheer to people around the world. It’s an enormous workload. However, in recent years, a heartwarming trend has emerged: consumers are finding creative and thoughtful ways to thank their delivery drivers during the holiday season.
This trend not only acknowledges the hard work delivery professionals put in but also adds a touch of human connection in the increasingly digital world of commerce.
The Emergence of Treat Stations
The idea of consumers setting up treat stations or snack stations on their doorsteps to thank delivery drivers started gaining ground in 2018—even before the COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented surge in online shopping. Since then, it’s become increasingly common for customers to make an effort to express gratitude for the dedicated delivery professionals who, in many ways, make the holidays happen.
These stations are small setups where homeowners leave snacks, drinks, and sometimes handwritten notes of thanks for the delivery drivers who bring packages to their doorsteps day after day. Items commonly found in these stations include bottled water, Gatorade, soft drinks, pre-packaged snacks like crackers, chips, or cookies, and sometimes even homemade treats. Other ideas include:
- Bags of popcorn
- Protein bars
- Granola bars
- Candy canes
- Trail mix
- Assorted nuts
- Iced coffee
- Fruit juice
The goal is to offer a quick refreshment to drivers who often spend long hours on the road, helping them to stay hydrated and energized. It’s a small gesture of kindness, knowing that their hard work is recognized and appreciated can significantly impact drivers. A heartwarming surprise can brighten drivers’ long, busy workdays.
Letters and Greetings Add a Personal Touch
In addition to physical treats, another emerging trend is the writing of thank-you notes or letters. A handwritten note can be particularly touching in an age where digital communication is the norm. These notes often include personal messages, expressing gratitude for specific ways in which the driver’s service has made a difference, such as delivering essential supplies or medications in inclement weather.
These personal touches aren’t always handwritten. A simple verbal greeting or a wave is often a welcome interaction for delivery drivers who don’t have many opportunities to meaningfully engage with others during the workday.
Impact on Drivers
The impact of these thoughtful gestures goes beyond a momentary smile or word of thanks. For many drivers, these acts of kindness provide a sense of appreciation and recognition that’s often lacking in their daily routine.
A simple gesture reminds drivers that their hard work and dedication, especially under conditions like the holiday rush and bad weather, don’t go unnoticed.
This trend also highlights a shift in consumer awareness, representing an acknowledgment of the human element in the delivery process that otherwise feels completely automated and robotic. Behind every package delivery is a dedicated professional who plays a critical role in the eCommerce supply chain, and those efforts deserve recognition.
Where Will This Trend Go in the Future?
We can all use a little more kindness in our lives. As the holiday season approaches each year, more consumers are taking part in this trend and expressing appreciation for their delivery drivers.
What started as isolated acts of kindness is becoming a widespread practice, especially with social media helping to spread these stories of positivity around the world.
As consumers continue to rely on online shopping for convenience, especially during the busy holiday shopping season, the role of delivery drivers will continue to be vital. Ongoing recognition and appreciation can foster positive relationships between drivers and consumers, ultimately improving the delivery experience for both customers and drivers and helping to boost driver retention.