E-commerce is growing at a phenomenal rate and, powered by the top trends in e-commerce logistics, shippers have an amazing opportunity to increase profitability and reduce freight spend simultaneously. The time to understand the trends in commerce logistics and position their organizations succeed and overcome the challenges that accompany this unique way of moving product on a global scale.
E-Commerce Comes With Unique Challenges to Traditional Logistics
Part of the problem with developing a successful e-commerce strategy goes back to the infrastructure created for brick-and-mortar sales. In addition, retailers around the globe struggle to stay competitive with the e-commerce behemoth, Amazon, reports Huemor. Unfortunately, other challenges plague the industry. As explained by Digital Commerce 360, the rate of identity theft is on the rise; fraud and counterfeit products are increasingly threatening to undermine legitimate e-commerce supply chains. Customers do not care about fraud; they care about convenience. Thus, shippers must strike a delicate balance between preventing fraud and not imposing on customers.
New Technologies and Supply Chain Practices Will Enable Competition in E-Commerce
Innovations within the logistics and manufacturing industries, ranging from 3D printing to active RFID tracking, will help shippers stay competitive in the e-commerce-driven world. The ability to adapt to these trends in e-commerce logistics will determine who can survive the threats of Amazon and the Big Box retailers. Fortunately, shippers have an advantage; they can leverage outside experience, like that of Cerasis, to implement faster, more effective solutions to handle the e-commerce craze.
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What Are the Top Trends in E-Commerce Logistics, and How Can Shippers Can Use Them to Create Competitive Advantage?
Although no one can truly determine what the future holds for the world of e-commerce, top trends of today indicate a future filled with technology, connected services, and efficiency gains. The opportunities for growth and success of never been higher, and some of the top trends, reports TruckingInfo.com, include:
- Digitization and Automation Get a Bigger Piece of the Logistics Pie. Digitization and automation within the supply chain will become major trends in e-commerce logistics, and power shippers to move more product, and at lower costs.
- Shippers Relocate Closer to E-Commerce Customers. Demand for e-commerce and faster order fulfillment will result in more shippers moving storage and manufacturing closer to consumers.
- Incorporation of Digital Payment Methods. In the same manner that shopping has evolved in the world of e-commerce, how consumers pay for their purchases must also evolve. This would include the use of digital payment methods and currencies.
- Use of Big Data for Market Behavior Analysis. Understanding market behaviors and consumer shopping habits through the use of big data will further refine the e-commerce logistics strategy.
- Use of Mobile Technology. According to New Gen Apps, mobile technology’s built-in GPS adds new value to existing supply chain tracking systems. Although technically part of the IoT, the use of GPS can also extend to RFID tags and AIDC technologies.
- Delivery Process Automation. Delivery process automation includes the use of drones and driverless vehicles to automate the delivery process, but it also includes the use of robotics in order fulfillment with them warehouses and automated shipping processes.
- Use of Innovative Delivery Methods. Innovative delivery services, such as doorman and additional concierge services, will become more important as the world turns into an e-commerce driven era. The use of such delivery methods will allow for faster delivery of more products, without the traditional constraints of last mile delivery confirmation.
- Greater Focus on Customer Personalization. As the number of products available for purchase has increased, the ability to personalize products will become even more important for consumers. Shippers must adapt and allow for such personalization by moving manufacturing closer to consumers and waiting on orders before completing the manufacturing process.
- Creation and Use of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. Augmented reality and virtual reality will play a role in both the design process and the management of supply chain processes in the world of e-commerce.
- Exploration of Social Shopping Channels. Social shopping channels, such as selling products through Insta Graham and Facebook, will become more important as e-commerce matures.
- Integration With Smart Assistants. Major smart assistant developers, such as Google and Amazon, have already focused on integrating shopping experiences with personal, digital assistants. The role of Smart assistants will continue to increase to meet e-commerce demand.
- SaaS Platforms Gain a Bigger Market Share. The ability to use an SAS platform to improve logistics efficiency and fulfill more orders will become more critical as shippers seek to unlock new ways to level the playing field and stay competitive with big-box giants and Amazon
- Blockchain Replaces Shipment Tracking Systems. Since e-commerce is inherently filled with instances of counterfeit products, fraud, and poor visibility problems, shippers must consider the use of blockchain technology to develop incorruptible ledgers for maintaining product validity and enhancing tracking systems.
- IoT Disruption Will Continue. Technologies connected to the Internet of things will continue to disrupt the industry, enhancing operations along the way.
- Shippers Streamline Shipping, Eliminating Middlemen. Integration of third-party platforms through APIs will continue to reduce the need for a middleman in managing logistics spend, and tapping into the value of additional carriers beyond the big three.
- Subscription Services Will Replace Single Purchases. As noted in previous years, subscription services are becoming more popular, so shippers will need to evolve and offer automated, recurring shipping for appropriate purchases.
- Same Day, Next Day, Two-Hour Delivery Will Become a Reality. Acceptable delivery windows are also shrinking, and same day, next day, and two-hour delivery are set to become realities in the coming year.
What’s It All Mean?
An outsider’s view of the trends in e-commerce logistics can be frightening, but they are revolutionizing how shippers and consumers interact in the modern world. Understanding the trends in e-commerce logistics can help shippers position their organizations to succeed in the new era of shopping and improve profitability and scalability at the same time.